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Warnings Over Net-Connected Christmas Gadgets

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The following is an excerpt BBC.com | November 24, 2017 |

Many toys have poor security, easy to guess passwords and cannot be updated to fix bugs, said deputy information commissioner Steve Wood.

Some are so poorly protected that they could be used by hackers as a route into a home network, he said.

He urged parents to take care when buying the smart devices.

"You wouldn't knowingly give a child a dangerous toy, so why risk buying them something that could be easily hacked into by strangers?" said Mr Wood.

Anyone thinking about buying a connected toy or device should research it carefully, he said, to find out if it has a good or bad reputation when it comes to protecting the data it will handle.

Parents should ideally try out any gadget and familiarise themselves with privacy settings before wrapping it for Christmas Day, he added.

The pre-gift check should give parents a chance to change default usernames and passwords to stronger alternatives. It could also be a chance to turn off any remote viewing options on those devices and toys that sport a camera.

Parents should also vote with their wallet and avoid connected devices or wearables that have earned a reputation for leaking or losing data.

"If consumers reject products that won't protect them, then developers and retailers should soon get the message," he said.

For more visit: bbc.com

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