The German government has banned a hi-tech doll that has given U.S. privacy groups and Red Siege founder, Tim Medin, concerns for years.
The My Friend Cayla doll, which remains on sale in the U.S., violates a portion of the German statute that “prohibits the possession, production, distribution, importation or otherwise of transmitters or other telecommunications equipment … which in appearance mimic another object or which are disguised.”
In short, the blond-haired, Bluetooth connected doll gives no information that it collects and transmits everything it hears. Used as intended, children can interact with Cayla through an app or through voice commands.
“The toy had many strong security features to ensure a normal child using the doll would not stumble into inappropriate content,” Medin said. “However, other development choices would allow a nefarious user to gain access to the device that could be dangerous.”
In 2015, Medin purchased My Friend Cayla doll and expressed concern about some of the security and privacy features in a blog post.
“Any, and I mean ANY system with Bluetooth (tablet, phone…or laptop) can connect to this device and use it as a speaker or as a remote mic. The toy is essentially a cute bluetooth headset,” Medin concluded. “Anyone within range can use this toy to listen to and communicate with a kiddo. Again, the only protection here is that only one device can be connected at a time. This is not a safe mechanism to protect someone from communicating with my child.”
As internet-connected toys become more common, it is incumbent on developers to institute best practices to prevent security concerns and safeguard the scores of children who will play with devices like the My Friend Cayla dolls.
Related StoriesView More
Introduction to Sliver
By Red Siege | November 7, 2022
By: Justin Palk, Security Consultant Around the time Tim decided he was going to give a Siegecast on selecting a C2, I finished building out a test Windows AD domain […]Learn More
Moving beyond T4 – Deconstructing Nmap Tuning
By Red Siege | July 6, 2022
by Alex Norman, Senior Security Consultant Nmap -T4 -iL targets.txt This is a very common scan string that many people use to get initial recon done on assessments and, to […]Learn More
Creating a Simple Windows Domain for Offensive Testing: Part 4
By Red Siege | June 23, 2022
By: Justin Palk, Security Consultant This is part four of my series of blog posts on creating a windows domain for offensive security testing. In part 1, I stood up […]Learn More