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Shocking: 80% of AI adorable toys can harm your child

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AI toys

“What seems harmless fun might be camouflaging a nefarious reality.” The catchy phrase, used by the innovative tech security firm, Zenshield, seems out of place when discussing toys. But they are not speaking about traditional toys here. Instead, the focus lies on the AI (Artificial Intelligence) toys that have become hot favorites among parents and children alike worldwide.

Yet, an alarming revelation surfaced in a recent survey. Roughly 80% of these bright, engaging play gadgets are said to have hidden software vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities open the door to potential cyberattacks, introducing a worrying aspect to what was once considered harmless fun.

Steffan Black, one of Zenshield‘s leading experts, sheds more light on this disquieting fact. He warns, “These vulnerabilities can allow unauthorized users to gain control of the toys. They can access sensitive data, including personal information and even disturbingly, use the toy’s audio and video features for surveillance.” Its something unexpected, and probably, the last thing you’d associate with a child’s toy.

Know the Potential Threats

Before you decide to discard all your child’s AI toys, it’s essential to comprehend the potential threats these vulnerabilities pose. Among the top concerns are:

1. Data Breach:

According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, there has been a steady increase in data breaches, with the number expected to reach 150 billion records by 2023.

In a study conducted by Consumer Reports, it was found that 78% of smart toys tested had security vulnerabilities that could potentially expose children’s personal information.

2. Unauthorized Access:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported a 267% increase in IoT (Internet of Things) related security vulnerabilities from 2017 to 2018.

A study by Rapid7 revealed that 90% of tested IoT devices, including some AI toys, were susceptible to at least one security vulnerability that could allow unauthorized access.

3. Surveillance:

The Internet of Things Security Foundation reported that incidents of IoT devices being used for surveillance purposes increased by 72% in the past year.

In a survey conducted by NortonLifeLock, 45% of parents expressed concerns about the potential misuse of smart toys’ cameras and microphones for unauthorized surveillance.

Safeguarding Your Children’s Privacy

Recognizing the threats is the first step. The next involves strategizing on how best to safeguard your child’s privacy while using these AI toys. “Mitigating the risks associated with AI toys is crucial. It isn’t about discarding them altogether; it’s about using them smartly and securely,” advises Steffan.

Here are some actionable tips from Zenshield‘s experts:

  • Buy Reputable Brands: Invest in AI toys from trusted manufacturers who are known to prioritize security and regular software updates.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi: Many AI toys connect via Wi-Fi. So, ensure your home network is secure with up-to-date encryption protocols.
  • Limit Information Shared: Be cautious when providing personal information during toy setup. Often, the details asked aren’t necessary for play.
  • Regularly Update Software: Make sure the toy’s software is updated regularly. Updates often include fixes for known vulnerabilities.

Turning the Tables

To protect your children in this technologically advanced reality, awareness is your greatest tool. Understanding that threats exist even in seemingly innocuous toys is the starting point. Following through with protective measures maintains the safety net.

While the data might seem alarming at first glance, it shouldn’t be used to demonize technology or AI toys altogether. As Steffan Black sums it up, “AI toys can provide incredible interactive educational opportunities for children. We don’t need to fear them. We must respect them by recognizing their potentials and being smart in how we use them.

Hence, it’s not about taking away the toys—it’s about redefining how we use them. Equip yourself with the correct knowledge and the right security measures. Change the game from villains and vulnerabilities to safety and smart usage. So the next time your child turns on their AI toy, you can sit back, safe in the belief that their playtime isn’t compromising their privacy.

Read next: Top 10 trends to shape intelligent customer experience in 2024: Zendesk

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