TAMPA (FOX 13) – From classic teddy bears to stuffed animals with internet capabilities, kids’ toys are evolving with the times. But, the hi-tech “smart toys” come with a warning from the FBI. They could put your family’s privacy and safety at risk.
What they’re talking about are toys that have Wi-Fi capabilities. The FBI says they can record audio or video. And, once they’re connected to the internet, a hacker could easily get their hands on your personal information.
A summer day at Ballast Point Park evokes memories of a much simpler time and much simpler toys for parents like Sean Camacho.
“Slinky, you want to talk about Legos, building blocks, you want to go outside, play with the jungle gym,” Camacho recalled.
Nowadays, it’s all about technology. Toys can connect to the internet, talk to kids and even transmit messages.
But the FBI says internet-connected smart toys like the Cloud Pet are a cyber security threat. Nearly two million personal recordings made by children to their stuffed animals were recently hacked and leaked online.
“If you accept that toy into your home, you accept the responsibilities that come with it. So, beware, ” said FBI Spokesperson Garrett H. Croon.
The agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center is warning parents that toys with sensors, microphones, cameras and GPS options could put kids at risk. Wi-Fi capabilities combined with security vulnerabilities can allow hackers to watch and even interact with children, collecting private information like their name, school and activities.
“Your children may be speaking to the toys, or there could be background noise. Those audio recordings or video recordings are sent to a database somewhere in the sky, which could be hacked by someone, unwittingly releasing information that’s personal to you.” Croon said.
The FBI is urging parents to research and inspect smart toys, only using them with secure Wi-Fi connections.
“I play with it myself,” said Camacho. “It sounds stupid but I am a big kid of my…