The connected toy company, CloudPets, experienced a major data breach, exposing over 800,000 user accounts and possibly two million voice recording conversations between children and their parents.
Security researcher Troy Hunt claims that the origin of the security failure was a public database of the information applied to the bears that hackers managed to find online. The poorly secured data on a 10 GB MongoDB NoSQL database was accessed and copied by would-be cyber criminals December 25, 2016 and January 8, 2017.
The MongoDB installation required no authentication to access and contained links to .WAV files of CloudPets’ voice messages hosted in the Amazon cloud, which also did not require authentication. Hunt claims the database would have been especially easy for cyber criminals to find by simply using the Shodan search engine to scan the internet for insecure MongoDB installations.
After Hunts’ several attempts to contact CloudPets the database was finally deleted in January and a ransom demand was left on the exposed system.
Hung wrote in a blog post, “It’s impossible to believe that CloudPets, or mReady [which hosts the website that connects to the CloudPets App], did not know that the databases had been left publicly exposed and that malicious parties had accessed them. Obviously, they’ve changed the security profile of the system and simply could not have overlooked the fact that a ransom had been left. So both the exposed database and intrusion by those demanding the ransom must have been identified, yet this story never made the headlines.”
This news comes just a few days after Germany banned the popular My Friend Cayla dolls due to looming fears that the connected toy could be used by hackers to spy on children.
In November 2015, an attacker was able to access VTech’s data using an SQLi injection; inserting malicious commands into the websites' forms and ultimately tricking it into returning other data. The hacker was then able to infiltrate VTech’s web and database server gaining full control of the systems and exposing the personal data of 6.3 million people.
The demand for convenience continues to ramp the speed to market for IT products, but these devices often lack embedded security measures. Subsequently, consumers are connecting dozens of devices and increasing the attack space, now making even children’s toys vulnerable to attack.
Manufacturers of these connected devices must take into account security solutions that will help protect consumer data and the organization's IT environment. The most comprehensive measure to securing a database system is to use automated File Integrity Monitoring. FIM serves to analyze configuration files and settings, both for vulnerabilities and for compliance with a security best practices-based hardened build standard.
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