Security this week: the children

This week’s security post will continue on with the idea of holiday safety tips, with a focus on the kids.

It takes a special kind of evil to target children, but it does happen — and we need to be aware that computers aren’t the only place where hackers can lurk.

As toys get increasingly connected to the web, we open up the possibility that even Barbie can be used to compromise your privacy. Smart toys exist, and as I’m sure you can image, toy manufacturers are not building top-end security into these things. Some toys come with cameras, microphones, and by default connect to wifi. Parents should be aware of what their kids’ toys can do, and how to configure them to reduce the risk of exposure.

The Barbie news comes on the heels of an article about Vtech and their recent breach, where as many as 4.8 million adults and 200,000 children were impacted. While this topic is unpleasant, it’s part of the world we live in and we need to be prepared to face it safely.

The IoT (internet of things) really is everywhere, and as consumers we have to be aware of what we’re buying and how it exposes us.

In a previous article I mentioned that everyone should keep their routers up to date. It’s also never too early to learn password safety. Finally, public wifi is free, handy, and puts you on a network with everyone around you. That’s a perfectly fine choice to make, but you should make it every time – that means ensuring your devices are set to not auto-connect.

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Brian Masson
By Brian Masson
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