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CloudPets IoT Toys Leaked and Ransomed, Exposing Kids' Voice Messages (androidpolice.com) 64

"According to security researcher Troy Hunt, a series of web-connected, app-enabled toys called CloudPets have been hacked," reports Android Police. "The manufacturer's central database was reportedly compromised over several months after stunningly poor security, despite the attempts of many researchers and journalists to inform the manufacturer of the potential danger. Several ransom notes were left, demanding Bitcoin payments for the implied deletion of stolen data." From the report: CloudPets allow parents to record a message for their children on their phones, which then arrives on the Bluetooth connected stuffed toy and is played back. Kids can squeeze the stuffed animal's paw to record a message of their own, which is sent back to the phone app. The Android app has been downloaded over 100,000 times, though user reviews are poor, citing a difficult interface, frequent bugs, and annoying advertising. Hunt and the researchers he collaborated with found that the central database for CloudPets' voice messages and user info was stored on a public-facing MongoDB server, with only basic hashes protecting user addresses and passwords. The same database apparently connected to the stored voice messages that could be retrieved by the apps and toys. Easy access and poor password requirements may have resulted in unauthorized access to a large number of accounts. The database was finally removed from the publicly accessible server in January, but not before demands for ransom were left.
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CloudPets IoT Toys Leaked and Ransomed, Exposing Kids' Voice Messages

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @08:07AM (#53945101)

    Build a bridge, and if it collapses due to poor design the engineers involved go to jail.

    Build a crappy piece of software? No liability. That's going to end eventually.

    You want to call yourself an "engineer"? Play by real engineering rules.

    You're just a script kiddie with your Ruby? Tough.

    Because eventually, if you implement something poorly like this, you will be liable.

    If that scares you and makes you nervous, GOOD!!!!, because that means you're the type of clown-writing-code that needs to be held to higher standards.

    • by lucasnate1 ( 4682951 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @08:15AM (#53945119)

      While I agree with you, I think it's unfair to always put the blame on the programmer. In many companies that I worked for I remember seeing things that looked like this, I talked with my managers about fixing it, and they said "it is lower priority".

      • by kbg ( 241421 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @08:41AM (#53945223)

        You should always make sure you get the manager response in writing. Just tell him to either send his response in an email and then archive this email or log his response to the bug report ticket and notify. Because when the shit hits the fan you will always be blamed, unless you can point to an actual written statement saying otherwise. If you just say "The manager told to me to ignore it", he will just reply "I don't remember saying that".

        Everyone else is covering their asses so you should also otherwise it's your ass.

      • by LordWabbit2 ( 2440804 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @10:36AM (#53945959)
        Heh, while not exactly security related, I worked for a company who dealt in millions of transactions totaling billions in value. All this shoveled back and forth through IBM MQ.... with no transactions. Every now and then the server would up and die, and since it was multi threaded messages would get lost. I suggested switching on transactions to at least stop losing messages while we hunted down the reason for the server croaking, and was told NO. It would be too expensive (it was like 6 lines of code to actually implement) but the TESTING with all the clients would have cost them millions. So as far as I know they are still losing messages. Managements call, I left shortly after.
    • What happens to the jr. developer whose first task was to write software that was only supposed to be used internally as a test, when a year later some manager decides to put that code on a public facing, external server?

    • The problem is the rigor that is applied to code writing doesn't exist the same way as it does in other engineering fields... something I agree needs to change. If the education standard were higher, then it would be no problem to hold people accountable when their bridges fail and their code leaks personal information.

      • The problem is the rigor that is applied to code writing doesn't exist the same way as it does in other engineering fields... something I agree needs to change.

        It needs to change, at least, for software that can kill people. Toyota got dinged for unwarranted acceleration not because they made a mistake or even because it was proven that's what happened. They got in trouble because their code was such garbage that it would be shocking if it weren't causing problems. It did not meet any reasonable programming standards, including the ones typically used within the auto industry. Anyone who hires a programmer who drives a Toyota is hiring a dumbshit.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          Toyota got unwanted acceleration because people stepped on the gas pedal, thinking it was the brake. Just like every other "unwanted acceleration" problem in automotive history. It is a design flaw if you let people shift out of park without their foot already on the brake, of course, but not a programmer error.

  • As the right says about it's enemies, "they only understand force".

  • You want "cloud" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @08:21AM (#53945141)
    You get this - you get cloud. Deal with it.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It seems like there should be some kind of criminal negligence when security is this bad and people's personal data is being handled. In the UK they would likely be fined by the Data Protection Commissioner.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        I recently encountered a site which had a maximum password length of 20 characters.
        My password now contains a message to whoever thought this was a good idea.
        I'm pretty sure somebody will read that message soon enough.

        • I recently encountered a site which had a maximum password length of 20 characters. My password now contains a message to whoever thought this was a good idea. I'm pretty sure somebody will read that message soon enough.

          I suppose for the the kids, the password will be 1Mommy, or some other hard to guess - oh wait - what password?

        • I recently encountered a site which had a maximum password length of 20 characters.
          My password now contains a message to whoever thought this was a good idea.
          I'm pretty sure somebody will read that message soon enough.

          I know a bank that does this : http://northwest-bank.com/ [northwest-bank.com]
          Bizarre.

      • It seems like there should be some kind of criminal negligence when security is this bad and people's personal data is being handled. In the UK they would likely be fined by the Data Protection Commissioner.

        I don't disagree. But if people by now do not recognize that the Internet of things in the cloud is inherently unsafe, and that manufacturers don't recognize that the same people who buy an IoT toy or a device that allows them to open and close their living room curtains with their smartphone aren't going to apply good security measures, well, the whole thing falls under the category that simply because we can do something doesn't mean we should do something.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          There will have to be improved consumer protection laws, it's the only way things like this ever get fixed. It's hoverboards all over again - people will buy any junk without bothering to check if it is safe or not, and then hand it to their kids.

          • There will have to be improved consumer protection laws, it's the only way things like this ever get fixed. It's hoverboards all over again - people will buy any junk without bothering to check if it is safe or not, and then hand it to their kids.

            I'm wondering what parents will buy a IoT toy that requires their child to enter - say a 10 character password with at least one capitalization, one number and one special character. But yeah, this stuff shouldn't exist at all if you ask me. Ugh. "Talk dirty to me little Ashley"......

  • I am inspired!

    IoT vibrators. You can record a message for your loved one, and it plays back to them next time they use their vibrator.

    I AM A GENIUS!!!!!

    • Oooohh.... and it can send a message back to your phone, so you know when your SO is using it and hearing your message. That should make the weekly staff meeting more interesting when my phone buzzes so I take a peak and see it's the Mrs having fun at home while I'm learning what Stanley O'Noodle worked on for the last 7 days.

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @09:13AM (#53945391)
    This is like when we put old 80s rap cassettes in a Teddy Ruxpin.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2017 @09:24AM (#53945451)
    I checked and their stock is trading in the over the counter market. It's currently at 6/10 of one cent per share. That's right. A share costs less than one penny. At some point in the past year it was worth something like 38 cents a share. Given how even by OTC standards their stock is practically worthless, I would imagine that they don't have the funds on hand to pay the ransom and they probably can't fix the problems either, if they even cared to (not sure that they do). What people are saying about how this worked, when it did actually do what it was supposed to, doesn't suggest that security was given much thought. They probably thought nobody would care enough to hack a children's toy.
    • So they'll let shit-storm come, file bankruptcy and then sell the technology/patents/trademarks in the liquidation sale to a new company that will repeat the mess.

  • "Kids can squeeze the stuffed animal's paw to record a message of their own" - "user reviews are poor, citing a difficult interface" How hard can pressing a stuffed animals paw be?!
    • by rjmx ( 233228 )

      Kids these days. Wimps. Now, in *my* day, we had to catch a grizzly bear and press IT'S paw. While it was mauling us.

      Now get off my lawn.

  • As a consumer, I can't measure the security of a webcam, toy or even a website before I buy/use it. If I live in the USA I can't even safely test it after I buy the product. There are 4 companies that have reputations that I would consider trusting their security and to get to four I had to include Microsoft.

    So if you are not one of those four companies security will not gain you a single sale. Lack of it might burn you later but even that is unlikely.

    We know shit security is a problem. I want to
  • How does a company pour all that technology, time, and money into something and trip up at the finish line? Was it that hard to find someone that understood security?

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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