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VTech Hack Exposes More than 5 Million Child and Parent Accounts

Updated on December 2, 2015

Overview

VTech is a Hong Kong-based toymaker that manufactures a variety of tech gadgets and toys for kids of different ages. The company has introduced many popular lines of toys, including smartwatches, tablets, learning tools and baby monitors.

Last week, Motherboard, a media company, broke the alarming news of a large-scale cyber attack on VTech’s Learning Lodge app store and Kid Connect servers that led to a compromise of 5 million+ child and parent accounts. A majority of these accounts belong to VTech customers from US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

Compromised Data

The company states that more than 4.8 million parent accounts and 6.3 million kid profiles have been affected worldwide. The compromised data includes name, gender and birth date of children. Sensitive information about parents, including name, email address and password has also been stolen by the hacker.

As much as 200GB worth of photos of parents and their children is also feared to have been compromised, but VTech hasn’t confirmed this yet because of the ongoing investigation.

Credit Cards

The compromised database doesn’t include social security information, credit card data and driving license numbers. According to VTech, this information is handled through a secure third-party payment gateway.

How did the hack take place?

Motherboard states that SQL injection technique was employed to breach into VTech database. This is a hacking technique that involves the injection of a malicious code into website forms where users enter their personal information.

The company admits that the security parameters of PlanetVTech, Kid Connect and Learning Lodge weren’t up to the mark, thereby leading to the compromise. The company also plans to beef up its security to prevent any future attacks.

Implications

The hack has once again revealed the vulnerability of online data. It has certainly upset a lot of parents and their children. In the coming days, we may see tightened regulations on toymakers, such as VTech to ensure more secure handling of user data.

However, this isn’t the first time that such a massive hack attempt has been made on a toy company. Sony and some other companies have also been attacked in the past. Yet, the VTech case is more alarming than any previous hack as it directly puts the sensitive information of children at stake.

Currently, the Learning Lodge app store has been suspended.

The hacker has supposedly stated that he does not intend to utilize the hacked data for any purpose, though most security experts are not prepared to believe that. Hacked data is normally sold in black markets, where it fetches a decent price per hacked lead.

What CNet YouTube channel has to say about the hack:

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Updates

VTech has confirmed the news and even issued an update about the incident on its website.

Instructions for VTech Customers

  • VTech customers are advised to change all of their account passwords.
  • If you are using your VTech account password for accounts with other websites, then you should immediately change those passwords as well.

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