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IoT Gadgets: 7 Tips For Securing Your Child's Smart Toys

27 November 2017 00:00

If you think back to when you were a kid, there's no doubt that the main safety hazards to look out for with toys were choking hazards or the odd electrical part. Fast forward to 2017, and the rise of Internet-connected toys has opened the door for a world of unimaginable hazards.

IoT smart toy

We're all in awe of what our gadgets can do these days. It wasn't long ago that gadgets, such as touchscreen phones, arrived onto our laps, feeling like some sort of gateway into the realm of what technology can really bring us. But things change quickly, especially in the tech world.

Now, it's all about the Internet of Things (IoT).

From smart watches to smart teddies, manufacturers around the globe are jumping through hoops to be involved in IoT, connecting our children with the outside world. But surely this brings risks with it? After all, many parents don't fully comprehend the security measures needed with smart toys, or even the actual extent of what these toys can do.

Simply put, these toys don't just open up a gateway to technological convenience and entertainment - they open up a gateway for cyber criminals.

But don't fret! We’ve compiled a short list of tips for securing your smart toys.

Tip 1 - Be aware of default passwords

Most of these new items come with a default password that is easy to guess or hack. Change it to something more difficult to avoid unauthorised access.

Tip 2 - Don’t let devices or applications tell the world where you are

Cyber attackers can use this to pinpoint your child’s location from the photos, videos or social media content that they post, all from hidden coding.

Tip 3 - Make sure you are in control of what can and can’t be added

Do this by setting up administrative accounts on smart devices before they are handed over. This way, they can’t change the settings or download and install apps without your consent.

Tip 4 - Take control of your home WiFi.

Ensure that you change the WiFi name and password so that you control access, whilst also using built-in settings that establish the level of control your household needs for the kids, such as access times and website category blocking.

Tip 5 - Take care when sharing information and what is sensitive.

Don't allow them to share important details such as their address, phone number or email address. Attackers can scan for this information and use it to track children’s movements. Also ensure that whenever they share someone else's information, they ask for permission first.

Tip 6 - Make sure your children know only to connect to trusted WiFi networks.

Encourage them to avoid logging into sensitive accounts like email or social media when they’re away from a safe network.

Tip 7 - Think about the potential use of the product.

With new technology it can open up lots of fun, however, there may be ways in which the product could be involuntarily misused. A drone is an excellent example of this and can record video footage. These have been known to invade people's privacy and cause unrest.

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