You are nicked my son! Man held for hacking offences after last month’s breach of VTech database
Police have confirmed the arrest of a 21 year old man in relation to the hack of toy maker VTech, which caused security experts to warn that the data stolen could be used to identify children.
VTech is based in Hong Kong and it makes children’s tablets, learning toys and baby monitors. It confirmed its customer database was breached on 14 November, and the data involved was collected via VTech’s Learning Lodge website, where parents must register in order to use many of VTech’s toys.
Police officers from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) arrested a man on Tuesday as part of an investigation into computer hacking offences. The man was arrested in Bracknell, Berkshire, police confirmed, and a number of electronic items were seized.
“Cyber criminality is affecting more and more business around the world and we continue to work with our partners to thoroughly investigate, often very complex cases,” said Craig Jones, Head of the Cyber Crime Unit at SEROCU.
“We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done,” he said. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify those who commit offences and hold them to account.
And Jones pointed out that the police are becoming increasingly skilled at finding and arresting hackers.
“We are pursuing cyber criminals using the latest technology and working with businesses and academia to further develop specialist investigative capabilities to protect and reduce the risk to the public,” he said.
“Cyber crime is an issue which has no boundaries and affects people on a local, regional and global level,” he added. “I would like to urge everyone to check their home and business computer security and follow the advice available on sites such as cyberstreetwise.com and getsafeonline.org.
This arrest increases the awareness about the vulnerability of young children and their increasingly sophisticated and online toys.
Last week for example, a leading technology organisation warned that toys could be remotely hacked by security services and then be used to spy on suspects.
That warning came from Antony Walker of techUK, a tech body that represents over 850 companies, when he was speaking to a committee of MPs.
“A range of devices that have been in the news recently, in relation to a hack, are children’s toys, that children can interact with,” he told the committee. “These are devices that may sit in a child’s bedroom but are accessible.
“In theory, the manufacturer of those products could be the subject of a warrant to enable equipment interference with those devices,” he said.
This is not the first time that these concerns have been raised.
Earlier this year, toy maker Mattel triggered privacy worries for parents with the development of a Wi-Fi connected Barbie doll.
The ‘Hello Barbie’ is designed to remember what kids have said, and hold realistic two-way conversations with their owners.
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