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Massive hack of toy retailer VTech exposes children's data

01 Dec 2015 9:45 AM | Molly Wendell (Administrator)
  • Hong Kong-based VTech, a major maker of tech-based toys, said it was hacked in November, alarming security experts and parents.

  • Hackers accessed information like passwords, IP addresses, physical addresses as well as the gender and ages of children, photos of children, and some chat data.

  • No credit-card information was at risk, and the company has shut down some of its web operations as a precaution, according to reports.

The news of this hack, involving the identities of children, comes at a time when tech-based toys are among the most popular this holiday season.

And it comes as toy sales are destined to have one of their best years in more than a decade, according to NPD Group, with growth stoked in large part by improved technology. 

"The selection is much greater than in the past," Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of online toy review site TTPM, told the Associated Press. "Technology is much better in the toy aisle, and it's really inspiring young kids to play but also bringing older kids to things like radio control and role play items."

The news of this hack could make parents think twice about how chip-embedded toys could put the identifies of their children at risk. And while security breaches have become commonplace, once they affect children, people are naturally more alarmed, according to cyber-security expert Troy Hunt.

“When it’s hundreds of thousands of children including their names, genders and birthdates, that’s off the charts,” Hunt wrote on his blog regarding the VTech hack. “When it includes their parents as well – along with their home address – and you can link the two and emphatically say 'Here is 9 year old Mary, I know where she lives and I have other personally identifiable information about her parents (including their password and security question)', I start to run out of superlatives to even describe how bad that is.” 

SOURCE: http://www.retaildive.com/news/massive-hack-of-toy-retailer-vtech-exposes-childrens-data/410021/



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