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Kid-monitoring site breached: Millions of messages and images hacked

Kid-monitoring site breached: Millions of messages and images hacked
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

A major database breach has exposed millions of text messages and images to a hacker. Worse, many of these images are of young children.

The site uKnowKids, which lets parents remotely monitor their kids' online activity and their whereabouts, confirms the hack and says the vulnerability has been patched. However, sensitive information was exposed and some of it is still in the hands of the hacker.

The hack exposed customer data, trade secrets, propriety algorithms and business data, according to uKnowKids CEO Steve Woda. Frighteningly, kids' names, online activity and communications were exposed.

"Data was exposed for about 0.5% of the kids that uKnowKids has helped parents protect online and on their mobile phone," Woda wrote on the uKnowKids site. He noted that unencrypted passwords and financial information were not exposed.

Woda says the company has been working around the clock since the February 16-17 hack to find out exactly how the hack occurred. The company has also hired two external companies to scour their systems for vulnerabilities. However, that's not the end of the story.

Woda has taken to the Internet to expose the so-called white-hat hacker as a criminal hacker who's holding onto some of the company's database, including images of kids. Note: White-hat hackers are the good guys. They find vulnerabilities on a company's computer system, then alert the company to those vulnerabilities.

The hacker, Chris Vickery, has described himself as a lawyer by day who tries to find online vulnerabilities in his spare time. He then informs the company to the problem, which is what he did in this case.

He found the uKnowKids vulnerabilities and alerted the company to the problem. The problem is, Vickery is still holding onto some of its database, according to uKnowKids.

"After initial resistance, Mr. Vickery claims to have deleted the downloaded database in its entirety," Woda writes on the uKnowKids site. "However, he has reportedly retained an unknown number of screenshot copies of uKnow's intellectual property, and is so far unwilling to permanently delete this information."

In his defense, Vickery told the BBC that he has done nothing wrong. "I am not inclined to cooperate on joint releases with someone who directly accuses me of criminal activity," he said.

Keep reading Happening Now. We'll let you know if uKnowKids updates its findings, or if Vickery hands over the information he has.

Source: uKnowKids
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