Parents warned over this year’s must-have smart toys that can let strangers talk to your child

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  • Parents are being warned that this year’s must-have toys which connect to the internet and could allow strangers to talk to children.

    A recent investigation by consumer group Which? found that some of this year’s must-have toys, such as Furby Connect, i-Que Intelligent Robot, Toy-fi Teddy and CloudPets can all be accessed via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections.

    As with anything technological, once hackers connect to the toys they are able to send messages, which can then be heard as the child plays with the toy.

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    In each of the aforementioned toys, the Bluetooth connection had not been secured, meaning hackers didn’t need a password to gain access.

    Which? is asking all retailers – such as Argos, Amazon ad Toys R Us – to stop selling smart toys with known security problems.

    Talking to The Sun, Alex Neill from Which? said: ‘Connected toys are becoming increasingly popular, but as our investigation shows, anyone considering buying one should apply a level of caution.

    ‘Safety and security should be the absolute priority with any toy. If that can’t be guaranteed, then the products should not be sold.’

    If you’re worried about any of these toys, you can help minimise the risk of hacking if you don’t stick with the default password.

    Take time to read the manual and complete the set-up – all smart devices should connect to your secure Wi-Fi network, if they use their own Wi-Fi network during set up it could be unsecured.

    Another safety advice is to always talk to your children, keep communication open when it comes to being safe online. Warn them to tell you about any messages they receive from strangers at any time.

    What do you think? Will this put you off buying these toys? Let us know in the comments box below.