The doll is not alone. As the holiday shopping season enters its frantic last days, many manufacturers are promoting “connected” toys to keep children engaged. There’s also a smart watch for kids, a droid from the recent “Star Wars” movies and a furry little Furby. These gadgets can all connect with the internet to interact — a Cayla doll can whisper to children in several languages that she’s great at keeping secrets, while a plush Furby Connect doll can smile back and laugh when tickled.
But once anything is online, it is potentially exposed to hackers, who look for weaknesses to gain access to digitally connected devices. Then once hackers are in, they can use the toys’ cameras and microphones to potentially see and hear whatever the toy sees and hears. As a result, according to cybersecurity experts, the toys can be turned to spy on little ones or to track their location.