As much as tablets designed for children might appear like high-tech toys, they are still vulnerable to malware and other threats that come with any internet-connected device, a new study from BlueBox Security revealed.
In an analysis of the top nine Android tablets for children, Bluebox found that all the devices were susceptible to at least three vulnerabilities and more than half of the tablets shipped with a security backdoor that would allow root access to the device.
“They're [the tablets] fully functioning computers and tablets; they just come with a rubberized shell so if it bounces around it doesn't break,” said Andrew Blaich, lead security analyst at Bluebox, in an interview with SCMagazine.com “ It's still an Android operating system running. You can do anything with it that you can do with an Android.”
Although the devices often come with separate modes, one for children and one for parents, any activity parents conduct on a tablet could put their child's information at-risk, especially if the devices have weak built-in security.
Of the tablets analyzed, the most poorly rated device, the iDeaPLAY, was also the cheapest at $49.99. The device had a security backdoor, had USB debugging enabled, didn't come with the official Google Play store installed, and had third party management software installed to keep adult and child activities separate. On this and other poorly rated devices, “anything is up for grabs,” Blaich said.
Bluebox ranked the devices using its Trustable app, which analyzes Android devices and provides a “security score.”
The highest ranking - and most expensive - device, the Nabi 2, featured multiple security lapses until updates were installed, at which point, the primary concern became how data was stored and retrieved.
Blaich said that this study and the one prior, prove that “you typically get what you pay for with these devices,” and, “More expensive models have a better support ecosystem for patches to occur when things happen.”