Gift ideas? Perhaps check Mozilla's gadget security, creepiness ratings before you buy

Mozilla's buyers' guide rates the security and privacy of 70 connected things, ranging from toys to smart speakers.

Before buying connected toys and gadgets for the holiday season this year, it could be worth first checking Mozilla's 2018 edition 'Privacy Not Included' buyers' guide.

The guide offers an assessment of the privacy and security qualities of 70 different products, ranging from connected teddy bears, to smart speakers, games consoles, and smart home gadgets.

Products can be rated by the public on a spectrum from 'a little creepy' to 'very creepy'. Mozilla's researchers have also assessed whether each product uses encryption, how easy the privacy policy is to read, how security updates are handled, and whether the maker addresses security vulnerabilities.

Mozilla also adds a 'Meets Our Minimum Security Standards' stamp to a page if the product has met its minimum security standards for IoT products. And the listings briefly explain what could happen if something went wrong.

Among the 18 products listed in the Toys & Games page, just five products meet the minimum standards. They are Microsoft's Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch, Sony PS4, the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, and the Amazon Fire Kids Edition.

One product Mozilla is warning consumers to stay away from is the Fredi Baby Monitor because it doesn't use encryption, has a default password of '123', it's been hacked before, and it lacks a privacy policy.

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Just six of the 18 wearables in the guide pass Mozilla's minimum standards. Apple AirPods don't get a stamp of approval, but the Apple Watch Series 4 does.

Among smart home products, most smart speakers get a stamp of approval, including the Amazon Echo and Dot, Google Home, Apple HomePod, Sonos One, and the Mycroft Mark 1.

Oddly, not a single Nest product earns a badge of approval from Mozilla, despite being part of Google's bug bounty program, using encryption, offering automatic security updates, and not sharing information with third-parties.

Nest's apparent shortcoming is that its products don't rely on password-based authentication.

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The guide assesses the privacy and security qualities of 70 products, which can be rated by the public for creepiness.

Image: Mozilla

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