Data on 6.4 million children worldwide has been compromised after a hack on educational toymaker VTech, the Hong Kong-based company has admitted.
VTech initially disclosed the digital attack on Friday, saying hackers accessed the data of nearly 5 million adult users, but failed to disclose that any of the children user’s profiles had been accessed.
In a statement released today, it was disclosed the number of children users affected by the breach exceeded the number of adult users, with the data of on some 6.4 children being accessed.
The company’s statement said that the children’s profiles included only name, gender and birth date but news organisations are reporting that the hacker has released select photos , audio recordings and text chats linked to their accounts.
Stolen data on their parents included name, mailing address, email address, secret question and answer for password retrieval, IP address, mailing address, download history and encrypted password.
“I’ve never seen a hack that affected children as much as this one,” said Chris Wysopal, co-founder of cyber security firm Veracode.
“This is sort of the Ashley Madison for children. People unwittingly trusting their personal information in a company that wasn’t equipped to handle it.”
Australian digital security expert Troy Hunt, who helped tech website Motherboard verify the leak, said companies still aren’t getting the message when it comes to securing customer data.
“Taking security seriously is something you need to do before a data breach, not something you say afterwards to placate people,” Mr Hunt wrote on his blog.
The hacker, reportedly speaking with Motherboard, said he had no plans to use the data.
“Frankly, it makes me sick that I was able to get all this stuff,” the hacker said.
Australian consumer advocacy group Choice have taken this event, that has effected some 18,000 Australians, to remind people to consider their online security.
“The breach is a timely reminder to change your passwords on a regular basis and check to see what data security measures you have in place in your home.”