Spiral Toys launched CloudPets in 2015. The idea was to allow family and friends to relay voice messages to a young one through a stuffed animal. It was meant to be a way to keep kids feeling loved, even if their loved one was far away. Unfortunately, the toy didn’t last long.
A massive oversight of the need for secure passwords and database management caused some problems. In 2017 millions of messages were hacked. Personal messages between children and adults, things like emails, passwords, contact information and even location data- were held for ransom.
It WAS a really cool idea.
CloudPets were lovable, snuggly stuffed animals that could send and receive messages from anywhere in the world. They were designed for traveling parents, grandparents, siblings, or anyone important who lived far away from their loved ones. After a message was sent, a parent or loved one at home would get the message on their app, approve it – and then the message was delivered wirelessly to the CloudPet.
When the CloudPet had a message, its heart would blink. Squeezing the paw would play the message and if they squeezed the other one they could record a message and send it back.
In 2017, over half a million user’s data was breached. CloudPets’ Chief Executive Mark Myers told NetworkWorld magazine he “wasn’t worried” about a “potential” data breach. Myers told Motherboard it would be a very “minimal issue.” So when they were hacked and over 2 million messages were stolen, he denied they were at first. And then they just shuttered.
The Guardian was able to contact Myers back in 2017, and stated that while the email for CloudPets’ official contact address had been working, their emails were now returning undeliverable.
Are CloudPets still around?
You can still buy CloudPets at places like As Seen On TV’s website. Some second-hand retailers have them on eBay, or you may even find one at a local swap meet like I did. Prices range from the original retail value of $49.99 to $24.99. Or if you’re really lucky- $1.
What’s disappointing is that some of the original commercials are trending on YouTube. That’s where my daughter found it in the first place, and thought it would be great if she and her cousin had one. So when I saw one at the local swap meet for just a $1, I thought I scored majorly. To my dismay, their official website is now out of commission, and I figured after researching the hack, maybe we lucked out by not having one.
You can KINDA still download the official CloudPets app.
There are ways that you can download the app still as an .apk file. To install it, you’d need an APK installer, but even after you do so (I tried it) the app still will not work. Even after playing with the settings it still remained unusable. The pet however is still able to be viewed on you phone’s Bluetooth connections, you just can’t sync it without the app. And without the app the toy is useless. If you’re real savvy you can probably figure out a way to connect it, but unfortunately for me it’s more trouble than its worth.