Mattel’s latest Barbie toy has security experts concerned with its new features. The Hello Barbie is the world’s first “interactive doll” as it can listen to a child and responding via voice, much like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Now. But experts warn that hackers can use Hello Barbie as surveillance tool. The toy uses wifi in order to connect to the internet and by using a microphone can record and send off audio questions from the children. This information gets sent to third parties for processing before returning a response to the child.
But security experts in the US have found that when the doll is connected to wifi, it becomes vulnerable to hacking. This means that all and any information that the doll passes on could potentially be intercepted, not to mention overriding the ability to permanently keep the microphone on. This could lead to a myriad of problems ranging from identity fraud to knowing the details of the family of the child, including address. Another issue could be that the server could be replaced by one to be controlled by anyone, allowing the doll to say whatever the hacker wanted it to say.
In a test to see how secure the doll really was, it was found that even though the data is encrypted before being sent off, this can easily be manipulated and intercepted. It was also apparent how easily the doll could be manipulated and controlled. This opens the doors to hackers even being able to access information across the home wifi network, potentially allowing access to other devices and creating even more trouble for the owners, without even alerting them to the dangers. Mattel are yet to respond to these reports.
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