Hackers could access smart sex toys and burn users by ‘weaponising’ devices

The new generation of sex toys that connect via Bluetooth or over the Internet have become increasingly popular in the age of Covid.

But as more teledildonic sex toys come on the market, the more then are being targeted by hackers, a study claims.

And the dangers go further than an embarrassing photo being leaked onto the internet.

A new cyber security report focusing on the potential dangers of smart sex toys, suggests they could be "weaponised".

According to a new white paper from global cybersecurity experts at ESET, they could potentially cause physical harm to users: for example by being reprogrammed to deliberately overheat.

ESET a multinational internet security company based in Bratislava, Slovakia, gained recognition in the cyber security community for its work against Russian hacking collective Fancy Bear.

The company’s new white paper warns that: “As newer, technologically advanced models of sex toys enter the marketplace, incorporating mobile apps, messaging, video chat, and web-based interconnectivity, devices become more appealing and exploitable to cybercriminals.”

ESET researchers Denise Giusto and Cecilia Pastorino found security flaws in the apps controlling a number of popular smart sex toys. They could potentially allow viruses to be installed on the user’s phone to be installed on the connected phone, operating systems of the toys themselves to be hacked or, most worryingly, “a device being deliberately modified to cause physical harm to the user.”

ESET singled out the remote-controlled We-Vibe Jive vibrator which, they said, was likely to be used in insecure environments due to its mobile nature. They warned that anyone with a Bluetooth scanner could find a We-Vibe in use up to 25 feet away.

Monitoring the Bluetooth signal strength would make it easy to identify the user of the “discreet” sex toy.

The researchers also expressed concerns that gaining access to the device could also allow access to intimate photos and text messages stored on both users’ phones.

The researchers also identified the Lovense Max as being a soft target for hackers, pointing out that “the app’s use of email addresses in user IDs presents some privacy concerns, with addresses shared in plain text among all the phones involved in each chat.”

Remotely taking control of a stranger’s teledildonic vibrator would constitute a sexual assault, according to one legal expert.

The Daily Star spoke to The Secret Barrister, an anonymous legal expert whose book Stories of the Law and How It's Broken lifts the lid on how the legal profession really works. We asked them to speculate on the legalities of such an incident.

They said: “My instinct is yes, it would be an offence."

They added: “Consent would potentially be vitiated as the nature and quality of the act consented to (automated sexual activity) would have been replaced with an act not consented to (human-operated sexual activity).

“It is arguably on similar lines to cases where deception as to an offender’s gender has the effect of rendering otherwise consensual activity non-consensual.”

As these devices become increasingly popular it’s only going to get easier for hackers to electronically assault a teledildonics enthusiast without even touching them.

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