Oregon FBI offers tips on digital defense against toys

PORTLAND — The Oregon FBI warns consumers about digital defense against internet-connected toys.

In a press release, the FBI stated that new-fangled gadgets — including dolls, robots and the like — are now coming with “smart” technology.

“Personalization is key, and that means learning what your kid is all about,” the release states. “This can lead to serious privacy invasion, make no doubt.”

These toys can capture his likes and locations with voice recognition, GPS, microphones and video recording.

They may collect information about where a child lives, goes to school and which park he or she plays in.

“And it can send that info to back to the company, leaving you in the dark,” the release states.

The FBI offers these tips when handling new technology in toys:

• First, research the toy and its manufacturer.

Check to see if any hackers have successfully breached the company’s database in the past and try to determine the level of security the corporation uses to protect its customers.

• Second, turn on all possible internal security devices. If a password or even dual encryption option is available, use it.

Likewise, if the company offers an update or software patch, install it immediately to protect against possible hacking vulnerabilities.

Also, make sure any WiFi system connected to the toy is equally secure.

• Third, read all disclosure statements offered by the company to understand the purpose and destination of the information being collected.

• Finally, monitor the use of the toy. When not in use, turn the toy off completely to avoid automatic systems, such as GPS or voice recording, from continuing to collect data.

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