Smart toys could become new gateway for hackers

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) It's not just social media accounts and emails getting hacked anymore. Hackers have found a new way to tap into your information through your child's smart toy.

Smart toys use an internet connection and a smart phone. Once you set up the connection, the gateway between the toy and your phone is prone to hackers. Hacking into the smartphone and Wi-Fi could be especially easy when the toy is "low end" and doesn't have strict security firewalls or other protective software installed.

"Coming through the internet is what they're doing," Team Logic network technician Lacey Clark said. "Anytime you're getting hacked it's coming through some sort of internet connection, and people don't change the passwords they just leave all the defaults, and those are really easy to get into."

Clark said these smart toys have made it easier for hackers to gain access to users' information.

"Most people will never set passwords on them, they'll just take them out of the box, they probably won't even read the manual and just connect it to their Wi-Fi network at home, and then give it to the kid. That's what a lot of the vulnerabilities are due to, the hackers know people aren't resetting passwords."

Some tips IT experts have given include making sure your Wi-Fi is protected, changing your passwords every three months, and making sure to read manufacturers privacy manuals before connecting your personal device to the gadgets.