Stuffed 'CloudPets' removed from sale over cybersecurity concerns

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Some of the nation’s largest retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and eBay, stopped selling a stuffed children’s toy this week because of concerns the devices could be easily hacked.

The cybersecurity issues surrounding CloudPets were first exposed in February 2017. Security researchers demonstrated the Bluetooth-enabled devices could be hijacked and turned into a listening device.

They also showed the CloudPets database hosting 800,000 accounts had been hacked and released online, exposing emails, passwords and voice recordings of children and adults.

“I was unaware, which is really scary for me,” said Phoenix mom Alysa Marks. Marks bought a CloudPet for her daughter in December 2016.

“Now I have to go back and make sure my information is protected,” she said.

Retailers began removing the products after Mozilla, the non-profit company behind Firefox, commissioned an audit that revealed the vulnerabilities still hadn’t been resolved.

 “We are in the process of removing these items as they are in violation of our policy,” an eBay spokesperson said.

The representative did not respond to a question about why the company didn’t remove the listings sooner, when the issues were exposed 15 months ago.

“It's kind of concerning to me in a large way that something as big and open and publicized as this took a large, large group like Mozilla that owns Firefox to basically hound them with as much pressure as they could,” said John Sabo of Scottsdale-based FreeHackReport.com.

Sabo said the hacked usernames, passwords, and voice recordings are still available online on a server owned by Amazon.

The app needed to operate CloudPets has been removed from both the Apple and Android marketplaces.

However, there were a few dozen used CloudPets for sale in the Valley on apps like OfferUp and Facebook as of this week.

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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