Mozilla Publishes ‘Don’t Buy These’ Gift List

Don’t Buy These Gift

Mozilla has published its second annual list of Christmas gifts that aren’t secure, showing consumers 70 different ways they could be spied on by… well, by anyone who wanders past, often.

The company’s ‘Privacy Not Included’ guide showcases connected gifts that make security job # none.

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There are toys on the list, as you’d expect: the FBI has sounded the alarm bell about the number of kids’ toys that are totally insecure, without even basic password protections for data streams that can include personal information of the kidnappers-are-gonna-love-it variety.

But the list also includes a grab-bag of products including smart speakers, quad copters and the FREDI baby monitor, which as Mozilla says, ‘has a history of being easily hacked, uses a default password of “123”, and doesn’t have a privacy policy we could find from the manufacturer.’

Mozillas list of dont buy toys

The list is laid out in descending order from ‘a little creepy’ (remember to use two-factor authentication) through ‘somewhat creepy’ ( the slightly surveillancy Nest thermostat) to extremely hackable ‘very creepy products’ that often pair with phones through an app.

There’s a common theme: the product is fun or cute (drones, cutesy robots) and is controlled through a phone app, but it’s easy to hack because all the work has gone into making it purchasable; too little thought has gone into figuring out how to keep the gazillion mega creeps of personal data these things generate safe.

As a result, the list is full of things that look like they belong on kids’ TV, but can spy on you, transmitting audio, video, location and usage data, sometimes to third parties and often in clear.

The list is worth checking out, and not just as an ‘anti-gift ideas’ collection. As well as showing some warnings you might want to share with less cautious family members, Mozilla is also helping to raise awareness of how tech can seem to be one thing and — even accidentally — really be something else.

(‘Shop safe this holiday season/Privacy Not Included,’ Mozilla)

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