Safety flaws in toys: You cannot rely on a tool

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You can hack a mobile, you can hack a tablet, a smartwatch, even a damn appliance or a light bulb. They just need to meet the requirement of being ‘smarts’, of having connectivity. If you connect to the Internet, if you are part of the IoT or Internet of Things – the ecosystem of smart products connected to each other in a home, office, etc. – you are a valid candidate to be hacked.

Even something as private as a vibrator can be hacked.

Data on sexual behavior, the new frontier

There is nothing on the Internet that has more value than data. Not money, not jewelry, not art. Data is the most valuable currency to trade in – the number of cyberattacks, malware, and techniques designed just to steal user data already hints. Age, tastes, the stores a person visits, their bank details, what they eat, what they buy… But there is a ‘virgin’ sector, or little explored so to speak: sexual data.

The preferences that someone has in their private life, what they like, the way they do it, how they do it, with whom or with what … According to the expert company in cybersecurity and antivirus ESET, “there are few types of data with more potential to harm users than those related to their preferences and sexual behavior ”. Especially because it still has that veil of taboo subject to this day, however modern the world is supposed to be.

Given the situation we live in, the confinement and other measures derived from the current pandemic have not only increased the consumption of online content, but an increase in the sales of sex toys. And to see their level of security, given that many have IoT elements to connect remotely, video chats, messaging services, etc., ESET has carried out an investigation that has revealed “security flaws derived from both the implementation of the applications that they control the devices as well as their design ”.

The exhibition

As with any other IoT device, there are certain threats to privacy when using adult toys with the ability to connect to the Internet. The vulnerabilities could allow attackers to execute malicious code on the device, or block it by preventing the user from sending any commands to the toy. In fact, we have already seen real case scenarios involving similar attacks.

For example, and although it sounds a ‘bizarre’ point, the discovery of a ransomware that locks vulnerable chastity belts while the devices are in use and requires victims to pay a ransom to unlock the equipment and free themselves – for example victims who they had to pay $ 678 worth of crypto for it, or the guy kept his belt on.

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