Cyber hacker attacks kids’ software putting millions at risk

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A downloadable software program for children called “Learning Lodge”, marketed by VTech, is the latest target of a massive online hacker attack.

Learning Lodge can be downloaded onto a number of electronic VTech children’s devices, including tablets, phones, and smart watches.

VTech reported the security breach took aim at Learning Lodge’s app store database, exposing the names, emails, passwords, and mailing addresses of nearly 5 million adult accounts, and more than 6 million accounts for kids.

It turns out the hacker who breached VTech’s security was also able to grab tens of thousands of photographs, chats, and recordings made by parents of their children, but the told the online technology magazine Motherboard, he has no plans to publish or expose those images or recordings.

Associate professor of Communications, Arun Vishwanath, said the attack on VTech opens a new front in the cyber security arena.

“This is a first–where we are actually seeing someone going after children,” and Vishwanath said the eleven million hacked accounts may be just the beginning, “This number could be a lot bigger.”

Dr. Vishwanath, an authority on cyber security, this new kind of security breach aimed at children is especially scary because the technology is moving so fast it is making it easier for people–especially children–to fall into a trap.

“They make it easier for you to take photographs, to share photographs, to do these things, which if you are not aware of the privacy implications of these over time, breaches such as these are going to destroy their careers, their lives.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the website for the Learning Lodge had been shut down temporarily, and VTech is advising parents to change their children’s passwords, but Vishwanath warned that is not nearly enough.

Even for children, Vishwanath is advising parents to put a block on their credit reports, to keep a hacker from opening new accounts in their names.

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