jouets espion

These toys that spy on us

Toys bring joy to little ones, but can also be real sources of worry for adults. In addition to the risk of being poisoned by the manufacturing materials, there is also the possibility of being spied on. Find out more through these brief paragraphs.

A connected toy can be a spy

Researchers have recently discovered that certain connected toys are capable of stealing confidential information. These are dolls or animatronics that can hold a conversation with a child. As devices are connected to the Internet, personal data may be misused.

The artificial intelligence that certain electronic toys carry can be intercepted by computer hackers. Malware waits for the right moment to give the hacker an opening for attack. Even worse, the people behind the fraudulent scheme may pose as a chatbot to avoid arousing suspicion.

Christmas gifts are far from being trivial

After studying the issue at length, researchers came to the conclusion that the toys bought at Christmas include tampered models. Among the examples cited is the Barbie Hello from Mattel. This doll is programmed to learn natural language using machine learning and analytical algorithms. The answers are relevant, but the harms are also proportional.

To hold a conversation with a child, a connected toy must record all of the verbal exchanges with them. All dialogs are then sent to a Cloud Computing server. This information is then used to construct sentences and all kinds of interventions. Scientists believe that companies such as Mattel are not the only ones with access to recorded dialogue. Disney is also in the crosshairs of specialists.

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Dolls that spy on your actions

Several lawyers have joined together to file a complaint against the toy industry. They contacted the FCC, the competent authority in the field, to denounce malicious manipulation. Like My Friend Cayla and i-Que Intelligent Robot, certain products intended for a young audience are suspected of extracting data from children. As with Siri or Alexa who are constantly listening, their microphones are never turned off.

Nuance Communications is one of the specialized companies that manage speech training. This provider provides the technology for talking dolls. However, he also reportedly signed a contract with the American army. This same company collaborates with the intelligence services in the hands of the federal government of the United States. Which leaves us imaginative on the diversion of the use of toys.

Exposure to hacking and extortion of all kinds

Not all toy manufacturers are inherently malicious. They are far from trying to steal confidential information. Experts criticize them for not better protecting their products against piracy. For example, My Friend Cayla equips their connected dolls with Bluetooth technology. The insecure link leaves a wide opening for a hacker. This thug will not even need a powerful PC to break into the system and listen to the conversation.

The complaint currently being processed by the FCC alleges that the i-Que toy also has a flaw. The large number of young users who own this virtual companion suggests the wide choice of targets in the hands of hackers. At a time when chatbots are capable of acting almost like a human, it is difficult to distinguish a real threat from a joke. Caution is required.