BUYER BEWARE: Top hackable holiday gifts this year

As 'tech' tops many wish lists this year, you want to be sure that new gadget doesn't do more harm than good.

It was a record year for Cyber Monday sales with experts predicting more than $6.5 billion dollars spent online.

And now thieves are looking to cash in, waiting for those gifts to be unwrapped and used by consumers who aren't careful.

“Almost anything can get hacked. But you want to know when yours does,” said Jack Phillips.

Philips is the president and founder of Philips Security Consulting. He showed FOX 32 three popular gifts that you may want to give with a warning attached.

First up - interactive toys - like a Cloud Pet.

“It's really a cute, interactive, learn, grow as you go toy that children really like,” Phillips said.

Here's how it works - parents download an app that communicates to the toy.

“You can record messages, send messages, and when you get something, the little heart right here will light up - and then you hit their paw, and the message will come through,” Phillips said.

But there are two problems here: first - the Bluetooth connection between the app and the toy could be vulnerable to hackers.

Another way you could get hacked is if you use the toy on unsecure Wi-Fi.

In fact, Cloud Pets reported a data breach earlier this year.

Philips says don't use any smart-toys on public Wi-Fi.

“Don't use it at a hotel, mall, Starbucks, Denny's, wherever you go. Just don't use it there. Use it in the home. That's huge,” he said.

The FBI put out an alert about all internet connected toys, warning they could put children at risk.

“Child predators are out there. They could steal your child's identity,” Phillips said.

Next warning involves the Amazon Echo. If you're buying an older-version, there's an easy way for hackers to get inside.

“They have an open bottom, and with the open bottom you can solder, and put malware in there and a hacking device,” Phillips said.

Philips says that vulnerability is fixed on this year's version of the Echo and users should contact Amazon if they want a fix for their old one.

But always put your device on mute when you're not using it.

The last gift is a new smartphone though Philips says other tech is susceptible, too.

“The biggest problem with these phones, or smart TVs, or laptops, or pads is malicious apps,” Phillips said.

He says no matter which brand of device you have, hackers will lurk in the app store, hoping you download their app, mistaking it for a legit one.

But taking a few extra minutes to research could save you a big headache.

“Look at who developed it. See how long they've been in business,” Phillips said.

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