On the occasion of the arrival of Christmas, it is increasingly common to give some kind of game, toy or device connected to the Internet. Safe Internet helps us detect risks and learn to avoid them.

Connected toys
Connected toys. 2019. Font: Freepik. License: BY-SA.

The growing digitization of any area of our lives makes it essential to increase awareness and train families in the safe use of these devices to prevent children or adults from becoming victims of cybercriminals. With the arrival of Christmas "more and more toys are integrated into the Internet of Things, and this forces us to adapt security standards and adopt cyber protection measures", they explain in this article from the Safe Internet program .

In recent times we have experienced a paradigm shift in terms of toy safety. We previously referred to the risk of suffocation from the small parts of a game, the possibility of a device with batteries catching fire or the toxicity of the materials used in its manufacture. The Internet has changed the way we play and it is common to see how toys are integrated into the Internet of Things, forcing the authorities to adapt established security standards and consumers to inform themselves and adopt cyber protection measures.

According to a study , the smart toys market is expected to register a CAGR of 28% during the forecast period 2021 - 2026 . And it is that the adoption of STEAM toys to improve children's skills is one of the key factors driving the demand of the smart toys market, given that parents always adopt products that can help in the intellectual development of children their sons and daughters.

What data do connected toys extract?

Internet Segura points out that, according to the report Kaleidoscope on the Internet of Toys (2017), the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the game data obtained by connected toys can be divided into three categories, according to their utility:

Play and learning

Game data recording helps make the toy more interactive and closer to the person playing it. Analysis of this game information allows the toy to provide contextualized feedback to the user persona.

Care of children

Using motion and capacitive sensors, there are smart toys that can measure touch and provide haptic and visual feedback to children while also obtaining data about their well-being, which provides useful information (for parents, schools and services Health).

Elaboration of user profiles for use by the industry

Game data and possibly other personal data (such as name, age, location, …) or automatic data collection such as IP address or behavior may be analyzed, used and even shared of the consumer.

As they obtain user information (among other metrics, location, age, gender and language), these toys profile girls and boys and create a digital footprint of minors . Of course, the collection of this data raises potential security issues at every point in the data-sharing system , from Wi-Fi to cloud storage.

A cybercriminal could extract sensitive information from users of connected toys during product registration, during playtime, or by hacking the home Wi-Fi systems they are connected to. That is why it is important that the toys collect only the data necessary for their operation. You can download the recommendations of the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) here .