Cybersecurity Experts Urge Parents to Boycott VTech Toys After Hack



/ 3 years ago

VTech

VTech is a company which specializes in electronics devices, baby monitors, toys and other equipment aimed at children. During my youth, I remember VTech being the main source of educational laptops for children in the Argos catalogue. Since then, technology has progressed at a rapid pace, and VTech now produces a huge range of smart devices including tablets. Back in late November, the company’s Learning Lodge gateway was compromised due to poor security and almost 6.4 million children’s details were exposed by a hacker. This is a shocking revelation and exemplifies the importance of being incredibly careful with your personal information. Recently, a VTech spokeswoman made some very worrying comments which suggest the company has a fairly incompetent attitude towards user data:

“Since learning about the hack of its databases, VTech has worked hard to enhance the security of its websites and services and to safeguard customer information,”

“But no company that operates online can provide a 100% guarantee that it won’t be hacked.”

“The Learning Lodge terms and conditions, like the T&Cs for many online sites and services, simply recognise that fact by limiting the company’s liability for the acts of third parties such as hackers.”

“Such limitations are commonplace on the web.”

As you might expect, this has been heavily criticized by industry experts, and consumers requiring peace-of-mind about their personal information. The latest terms were flagged by a  blog by the Australian security specialist Troy Hunt. He lambasted the company and said:

“You acknowledge and agree that you assume full responsibility for your use of the site and any software or firmware downloaded.”

“You acknowledge and agree that any information you send or receive during your use of the site may not be secure and may be intercepted or later acquired by unauthorised parties.”

“You acknowledge and agree that your use of the site and any software or firmware downloaded there from is at your own risk.”

“If [VTech] honestly feel they’re not up to the task of protecting personal information, then perhaps put that on the box and allow consumers to consciously take their chances rather than implicitly opting into the ‘zero accountability’ clause.”

I have to echo the thoughts of Troy Hunt, and cannot believe VTech isn’t updating their security infrastructure after such a massive attack. If you value your children’s data, then it’s probably the most sensible idea to avoid using VTech’s online services.

Image courtesy of Threatpost.com

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