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Data breach of toy maker VTech leaked photos of children, parents

Jeremy Kirk | Dec. 1, 2015
The details of 5 million parents and children were disclosed after a cyberattack.

VTech said the passwords stored were encrypted. Hunt found VTech stored password hashes, which are cryptographic representations of passwords that have been churned through an algorithm.

But VTech used an algorithm known as MD5, which is considered very weak. Converting those hashes into their original passwords is possible using decoding tools and powerful graphics processors.

"The vast majority of these passwords would be cracked in next to no time," Hunt wrote.

Further analysis by Hunt showed it is easy to match the registered accounts of parents with their registered children. The flaws, he said, have been reported to VTech.

"The flaws are fundamental, and the recommendation I've passed on is to take it offline ASAP until they can fix it properly," Hunt wrote. "You just can't take chances with other people's data in this way, especially not when they're kids."

Chris Eng, vice president of security research at Veracode, said some consumer technology companies don't view security as a primary part of their core business, and "they're paying the price for it."

"VTech is a toy company," Eng said. "Toy manufacturers don’t have the rigor around secure development that’s needed in today’s environment and are inevitably going to fall short on security.”

 

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