WEIRD NEWS

Talking Doll Cayla Hacked To Spew Filthy Things (UPDATE)

02/09/2015 04:10 pm ET | Updated Feb 10, 2015

A talking doll designed to be a kid's best friend may actually be a parent's worst nightmare.

My Friend Cayla is an Internet-connected doll introduced in November that is supposed to be able to communicate with children via speech recognition software and Google Translate technology, Techworm.net reports.

British toymaker Vivid Toys promises that Cayla is equipped with software to block hundreds of words inappropriate for children.

However, security researcher Ken Munro says it's fairly easy to hack into the doll and program her to say words from the dreaded naughty list, according to the Mirror.

The Cayla website insists that "Cayla will simply not respond or answer any question with this type of input."

"For example if you don’t want Cayla to talk about oranges simply add the word to the app. Then, if asked about oranges, Cayla will say that she doesn’t want to talk about it," according to the website.

Nevertheless, Munro says it's fairly easy for anyone with the technical know-how to hack into the doll and program her to say words from the dreaded naughty list.

The Mirror even had Munro make Cayla quote Hannibal Lecter and lines from "50 Shades Of Grey."

Munro said the iPhone version of the app is more protected than the Android version.

Officials at Vivid Toys insisted to the BBC that the majority of Cayla dolls are safe and that the hacking was an isolated example carried out by a specialist team.

A spokesman for the doll's U.S. distributor says My Friend Cayla says the doll is no longer vulnerable to the type of "unlocking" done by Munro.

Gabe Uribe of Genesis Toys, a Los Angeles-based tech company that created My Friend Cayla, says the company's software engineers noticed the same vulnerability around the same time that it was reported in the press.

"We immediately developed a patch, and upgraded the software," he told HuffPost by email. "In fact, we have shipped over 400,000 Caylas around the globe since its debut last summer, and have not had a single consumer complaint, regarding security issues or problems."

This isn't the first time a children's toy has been accused of having a potty mouth.

Last September, Talina Woods, 25, from Wales, claimed the "Life In The Dreamhouse Talking Barbie Doll" she purchased for her daughter blurted out an off-color, three-word phrase summarized by the letters W, T and F.

UPDATE: This story includes new quotes by a spokesman for the company that makes the My Friend Cayla doll.

Mattel officials insisted that Barbie was actually saying "Off the hook."

Also on HuffPost:

Weird News: Strange, But True
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS