Vtech hacked, data of thousands of kids exposed

Pierluigi Paganini November 29, 2015

Toy maker Vtech has been hacked exposing data of thousands of kids, this hack is the fourth largest consumer data breach to date.

The greatest manufacturer of electronic toys Vtech, aka Video Technology Limited, was hacked. On 14 November, “an unauthorised party” managed to obtain access to the app store database of Vtech, the Learning Lodge.

The Learning Lodge includes apps, learning games, e-books, educational content and customer data (names, email IDs, passwords, questions and answers for password retrieval, IP addresses, and mailing addresses as well as download history), Vtech clarified that the database does not contain any financial data.

vtech games

According to Motherboard the data breach may have exposed personal information of about five million parents who bought Vtech  products and more 200,000 kids.

“The personal information of almost 5 million parents and more than 200,000 kids was exposed earlier this month after a hacker broke into the servers of a Chinese company that sells kids toys and gadgets, Motherboard has learned.” states Motherboard. “The hacked data includes names, email addresses, passwords, and home addresses of 4,833,678 parents who have bought products sold by VTech, which has almost $2 billion in revenue. The dump also includes the first names, genders and birthdays of more than 200,000 kids.”

The data stored in the app store database of Vtech belong to customers from several countries worldwide, including the US, China, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, the UK, Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Latin America, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

The company issued an official statement admitting the data breach announcing an ongoing investigation.

“VTech Holdings Limited today announced that an unauthorized party accessed VTech customer data housed on our Learning Lodge app store database on November 14, 2015 HKT.” states the official statement. “Upon discovering the unauthorized access we immediately conducted a thorough investigation, which involved a comprehensive check of the affected site and implementation of measures to defend against any further attacks.”

The company received an email asking about the incident on 23 November, then started the investigation that revealed  irregular activity on the Learning Lodge website.

The company announced that is working to improve security of the app store database and protect its customers.

“We are committed to protecting our customer information and their privacy, to ensure against any such incidents in the future.” added the company.

Motherboard analyzed the breached archive with the support of the security expert Troy Hunt, who maintains the website Have I Been Pwned.

Hunt discovered the archive contains “hashed” passwords or protected with an algorithm known as MD5, quite easy to break. The secret questions used for password or account recovery were stored in plaintext, crooks could potentially use them to take over other accounts belonging to the victims..

“That’s very negligent,” Hunt said. “They’ve obviously done a really bad job at storing passwords.”

As explained by Hunt, the most worrisome aspect of this data breach is the fact that it contains data about kids.

“When it includes their parents as well—along with their home address—and you can link the two and emphatically say ‘Here is 9 year old Mary, I know where she lives and I have other personally identifiable information about her parents (including their password and security question),’ I start to run out of superlatives to even describe how bad that is,” Hunt wrote in a blog post he published on Friday.

At the time of publishing VTech have taken services offline to fix the issue.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – vtech, data breach)

you might also like

leave a comment