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Tech toy hacking

Some of the hottest gifts on Christmas wish lists this year are toys that connect to the internet however, these toys are also vulnerable to hackers. (Sinclair Cares)

Payton Bird and Chris Nochez think a robot car kit would be a pretty cool gift.

It comes with a wireless camera, hooks up to the home wi-fi, and is controlled by an app on a tablet or phone.

As much fun as it might be though this toy, and others like it, are vulnerable to hackers.

"They put this toy away, I was able to turn it back and point the camera directly at them and zoom in and see exactly what they were doing."

And it was easy.

"This took me two hours to figure out how to break into this specific toy."

He may be wearing black, but Travis Smith is a "white hat" hacker working for Tripwire, a technology security company.

"Any device that you put on your network is increasing what we call your attack surface."

Payton's mom thought she was security conscious at home.

"But I never thought of anything with cameras or people being able to peer in."

Since this toy is designed for kids to learn about software coding, the company making it said, "people can learn things, and the security issue is not considered."

Many companies do what they can to keep their systems secure, but Travis Smith says there are steps you should take:

  • Change the password
  • Apply updates when available
  • Power it off if you don't need it

It is not just your kids at risk.

"While you child is playing with this toy, or it is sitting on the counter, and you are logging into the bank account from your phone, I could potentially use this robot to spy on all of your banking information."

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