Cyberattacks on smart sex toys will increase in 2021

Technologies

By CAPosts 08 November, 2020 - 09:36am 132 views

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered purchases of connected sexual devices. According to a survey by the Gleeden platform, sales in online sex shops increased by 200% since the start of the quarantine . The growth percentage varies according to each country, the truth is that the year 2020 has marked a milestone in this business and has awakened a global phenomenon.

In Argentina, in April, in the daily report of the Ministry of Health, the Government recommended virtual sex in the midst of mandatory isolation . They advised resorting to video calls and sexting. They also specifically recommended washing hands after masturbation and disinfecting keyboards, screens, and sex toys once the act is over.

“In the early months of quarantine, many people wanted to put the kit together. I think it was quite key when they came out from the government with this advice for people to start naturalizing it, that it is not taboo. We meet a lot of people for the first time: 'I'm going to buy a toy for myself, I'm left alone and I'm without a partner, who used to be fucking around and now I can't,' for example, "Francesca Gnecchi, director of the space, told Infobae Erotique Pink and sexuality journalist.

On the other hand, she highlighted the couples who were separated during the quarantine. "Then devices were bought where you download an app and play. Or each, for example, has a toy at home and through virtual sex they are guided in what to do with the toy. ”He added, and he remarked that the sale of sex toys grew by 50% in relation to 2019.

Connected toys

In recent decades, sex toys have become seen improved by advances in computing at a general level. “ Today these devices incorporate a wide range of functions: group chats, multimedia messages, video conferencing, file transfer, synchronization with song lists. ones or audiobooks, the ability to connect with Alexa and other smart assistants, the possibility of handing over control of the device to remote users, and much more ”, Denise Giusto Bilic, cybersecurity researcher at ESET Latin America, explained to Infobae.

In the forum of trends in cybersecurity 2021 of the company, Bilic stressed that attacks on sexual IoT devices (internet of things) will grow. “These equipment, capable of being controlled through a smartphone or computer, and which can be accessed remotely through the internet, are part of the IoT phenomenon. More specifically, sex equipment that can be remotely controlled falls into the category of teledildonics, ”he said.

It is not yet known with certainty whether and to what extent this type of attack has been exploited in a practical setting. According to the specialist, this occurs because, on the one hand, users tend not to report these types of incidents , and may never even notice that they have been victims of information theft . "On the other, it is extremely difficult to collect data from the same terminals since there are no security solutions for these IoT equipment , and the large number of different manufacturers, models and architectures available hinders the process," he added.

How

works

The era of smart sex toys is beginning . The latest advancements in the industry include models with virtual reality (VR) capabilities and artificial intelligence-powered sex robots that include cameras, microphones, and voice analysis capabilities based on artificial intelligence techniques. "The use of these robots as substitutes for sex workers in brothels is already a reality," said the researcher.

Regarding their architecture, most of these devices can be controlled via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) from a application installed on a smartphone . In this way, the toys act as sensors, which then send information to an application installed on the phone.

This app is responsible for configuring the options on the device and controlling the user authentication process. It connects via Wi-Fi to a cloud server that stores user account information.

“Some providers offer the ability to connect to their devices by installing software on their computers and using a special BLE dongle, and the BLE API can also be used in certain browsers. These various ways in which it can connect to devices provide more flexibility, but also increase the attack surface, ”explained the cybersecurity specialist.

This architecture presents several weak points that could be used to compromise the security of the data being processed: exploiting existing vulnerabilities in the link between the app and the device, between the application and the cloud, between the remote phone and the cloud, or attacking directly to the backend . Other scenarios include the use of malware previously installed on the phone or taking advantage of the lack of update in the phone's operating system

As explained by Bilic, the consequences of an attack could include information leakage and take over without the consent of the team . " In addition to concerns about data confidentiality, we must consider the possibility that vulnerabilities in the application could allow malware to be installed on the phone, arbitrary code execution, or firmware modification on toys, " he added.

How to protect yourself

Smart sex toys are gaining popularity as part of the concept of “sexnology” - a combination of sex and technology. These practices may have come to stay, so we must not forget the potential threats to user privacy and privacy. To minimize the risks associated with the use of smart sexual devices, Bilic recommends:

- Avoid registering with control applications using an official name or email address that can identify you (for example, avoid registering with email addresses that contain your first and last name, or a username that you have already used on another platform)

- As far as possible, avoid sharing photos or videos in which the issuer can be identified. Do not publish remote control tokens on the internet.

- Some applications offer the ability to control devices locally via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy ) without creating a user account. If you don't have the idea of allowing other users to control your device remotely over the internet, look for one of these models .

- Use smart sex toys in a protected environment and avoid using them in public places or areas with people of step (like hotels) .

- Downloading the apps and testing their functions before purchasing the device can give you an overview of how safe the product is . Use online search engines like Google to find out if the model you are thinking of buying has had vulnerabilities in the past

- Always protect the mobile phones used to control these devices , keep them up to date and have a security solution installed on them.

- Protect the home Wi-Fi network used for connection with strong passwords, securely encrypted algorithms, and regular router firmware updates.

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