So we’ve noted time and time again how so-called “smart” toys aren’t immune to the security and privacy problems plaguing the internet of broken things. Whether we’re talking about the Vtech hack (which exposed kids’ selfies, chat logs, and voice recordings) or the lawsuits against Genesis Toys (whose products suffer from vulnerabilities to man-in-the-middle attacks), the story remains the same: these companies were so excited to connect everything and anything to the internet, but few could be bothered to spend more than a fleeting moment thinking about product security and consumer privacy.
Troy Hunt, creator of the very useful Have I Been Pwned? website, this week highlighted one of the biggest privacy breaches yet when it comes to the connected toy market. Spiral Toys makes the CloudPets line of stuffed animals, which adorably record and play back voice messages that can be sent over the Internet by parents and children alike. Less adorable is the fact that this collected data is stored by a Romanian company called mReady, which apparently left this data in a public available database neither protected by a password nor placed behind a firewall.
As such, that data was publicly accessible to anybody perusing the data via the Shodan search engine. And while nobody can guess the precise number, Hunt estimates that somewhere around 2 million voice recordings of children and parents were just left exposed to the open air, as well as the e-mail addresses and passwords for more than 800,000 Spiral Toys CloudPets accounts.
On a positive note, the company did appear to keep CloudPets stored passwords as a bcrypt hash, one of the more secure methods available. But that appears to have been compromised by the fact that the company (as outlined in this instructional video for customers) has absolutely no restrictions when it comes to minimal password strength:
“However, counteracting that is the fact that CloudPets has absolutely no password strength rules. When I say “no rules”, I mean you can literally have a password of “a”. That’s right, just a single character. The password used here in the demonstration is literally just “qwe”; 3 characters and a keyboard sequence. What this meant is that when I passed the bcrypt hashes into hashcat and checked them against some of the world’s most common passwords (“qwerty”, “password”, “123456”, etc.) along with the passwords “qwe” and “cloudpets”, I cracked a large number in a very short time.”
As we’ve seen with so many IoT companies, many simply don’t respond when contacted and warned about vulnerabilities. And when they are warned, lawsuit threats are often more common than cogent responses. In this case, Hunt notes that Spiral Toys was contacted three times about the data being publicly exposed and its weak password rules, and it chose to ignore each one of them:
“3 attempts to warn the organisation of a serious security vulnerability and not a single response. I’ve said many times before in many blog posts, public talks and workshops that one of the greatest difficulties I have in dealing with data breaches is getting a response from the organisation involved. Time and time again, there are extensive delays or no response at all from the very people that should be the most interested in incidents like this. If you run any sort of online service whatsoever, think about what’s involved in ensuring someone can report this sort of thing to you because this whole story could have had a very different outcome otherwise.”
In other words, here’s yet another company that not only thinks security and privacy are an afterthought, but can’t actually be bothered to respond when informed that the data of millions of users was just sitting unsecured in public view. These companies don’t appear to realize it, but their incompetence acts as a living, breathing advertisement for why dumb toys and devices remain the smarter option.