Parents are being warned about walkie talkies, robots and karaoke machines that can be hacked by strangers – how to stay safe

Parents are being warned about walkie talkies, robots and karaoke machines that can be hacked by strangers – how to stay safe
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Parents have been warned by experts about the dangers of children’s toys that can be hacked by strangers.

Consumer watchdog Which? tested “smart toys” sold by Amazon, Argos, Smyths, and other retailers, and found security flaws.

What did Which? find?

Product testers found that strangers could hack into a £30 V-tech KidiGear walkie talkie and have two-way conversations with children.

They also found that popular kids’ karaoke machines Singing Machine and Xpassion allowed people within a 10 metre radius to send pre-recorded messages to the devices because they lacked authentication features like a Bluetooth PIN.

Which? said an artificial intelligence robot, called Boxer Robot (made by Spin Master) could be hacked easily because the toy did not require users to create a strong password.

A coding game by a company called Bloxels was also found to be hackable because of a similar password issue.

What does Which? suggest?

The group says more needs to be done to protect children, and that new laws must be created to regulate the security of so-called smart toys.

The government does already have a code of practice to improve the security of these devices, but it is completely voluntary.

HP Inc., Centrica Hive Ltd, and Green Energy Options are the only three companies to have signed up to the code.

Which? says children are being let down. Natalie Hitchins of Which?, said: “The next government must ensure manufacturers design connected tech products with security as paramount if it is going to prevent unsecure products ending up in people’s homes.”