11 million families have Christmas presents which could be hacked

More than 11 million families in the UK could be unwittingly inviting unwelcome guests into their homes this Christmas as a result of the number of hackable presents making their way under the tree.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd December 2015, 5:00 am

New research carried out by a leading VPN provider following the hacking of tech toy firm Vtech last month, shows that 43% of Brits are buying internet-enabled gifts this Christmas that can be easily hacked into and used to spy on them.

These include:

1) Gaming devices (28%)

2) Laptops (19%)

3) Smartphones (18%)

4) Ebook readers (16%)

5) Smart TVs (12%)

6) TV streaming service such as Amazon Fire stick (9.3%)

7) Smart children’s toys (9%)

8) Wireless speakers (8%)

9) Smart watch (5%)

10) Wearable fitness devices (4%)

The Vtech hack saw the data of more than six million children – including their photos and even recorded conversations hacked.

Most worryingly for parents the research shows that one in every five children aged 5 - 12 (approximately 1.08 million) already have internet enabled toys and gadgets that could be hacked by cybercriminals. And with three of this year’s must-have Christmas toys containing internet technology, the number of children vulnerable to hackers could grow substantially.

In response to the recent hacking incidents, and to guide parents on keeping themselves safe and private while still enjoying their gifts this festive season, VPN provider HMA.com has created a modern twist on the classic ‘I spy’ game which acts as a guide to guard against hacking.

Other worrying trends highlighted by HMA:

Nearly three quarters (73%) of households will not read the privacy policies of the internet-connected ‘smart’ products they buy for their family.

79% of households have not heard of the ‘Internet of Things’.

Despite 98% of parents citing their family’s privacy as important, the same number of households have purchased products that could be used to spy on them by hackers or companies.

One in 10 British households (2.6 million) could be spied on through a web cam.

11% of parents have had a nightmare about their family being hacked.

71% of households feel that the police should place greater attention on tackling cybercrime and raising awareness of the vulnerabilities of smart products.