New rules to prevent children's 'smart' toys from being hacked

This Christmas the toys are getting smarter - but is the law smart enough to keep up?

We've been investigating the potential dangers from new digital toys that could potentially be hacked.

A cyber security consultant demonstrated how easy it is can be to take control of some of the latest generation of gadgets.

Cyber security consultant Ken Munro inspects the My Friend Cayla doll.

Ken Munro told ITV News, "I certainly didn't have toys like this when I was growing up and we are suddenly asking parents to understand privacy and security in a new generation of toys.

"We need standards, and we need codes of practice, but if manufacturers don't improve we also need regulation to follow it up".

The expert acted as an "ethical hacker" and demonstrated how some toys can be vulnerable.

He showed a doll that connects through Bluetooth, but is without password protection meaning a hack was simple.

It was a similar story with a talking toucan, which could be made to say whatever Mr Munro wanted once he had taken control.

Some toys can be vulnerable to hacking. Credit: ITV News

The government minister in charge, Margot James MP, said that new laws are likely.

"In all likelihood it will become statutory regulation but in the first instance I think its important to get it right," she said.

"We will quickly learn what it is we have to regulate and how we need to work with industry and what companies need to do," the Digital Minister added.

Children are growing up in a digital world and many parents see Credit: ITV News

A spokesperson for The British Toy and Hobby Association, Natasha Crookes said: "Responsible manufacturers have taken a very cautious approach which is why less than 2% of toys connect to the internet. I think there has been a lack of legislation in this area which is why the trade association has had its own security guidelines for about a year."

Children are growing up in a digital world, and many parents see "smart" toys as a great way to help prepare them.

There is no simple way for consumers to evaluate how secure these devices are, no specific security kitemark for toys or mandatory standards.

It seems that will soon change.