How Secure is Your Sex Toy?

Someone can hack your buttplug if you’re not careful.

Big surprise, sex toys are not terribly secure. Sex tech has indeed come a long way from the first vibrator in the 19th century and the iconic Rabbit vibrator of the late 1980s. Vibrators come with smartphone apps, Bluetooth technology and even cameras. But they use surprisingly poor security technology that leaves users open to exploitation.

Indeed, hackers recently probed a few toys to prove it. The good people at cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners (“Pen Test” stands for, I kid you not, Penetration Testing) checked to see if your Bluetooth vibrating buttplug could easily be hacked.

It can be.

Alex Lomas, a “penetration tester” at Pen Test tried it out on the Lovense Hush, one of the most expensive and advanced buttplugs available. It comes with a programmable app that connects with the toy when in range (about 30 feet) and allows the user to control the toy’s vibrations remotely. But while using a Hush “for research,” Lomas discovered that when the app disconnects—which happens if the person with the controler travels farther than 30 feet—the toy is exposed to pairing with anyone with the right tools.

A common defense against Bluetooth hacking is a pin or password but the Hush and most other toys don’t have that option. As Lomas wrote, “where do you put a UI [user interface] on a buttplug?”

Naming the practice of hunting for Bluetooth sex toys “screwdriving,” Lomas searched for a free range buttplug he could try to connect with. He actually found a lone Hush on the streets of Berlin. Not being a terrible person, Lomas didn’t actually do anything with the toy. But he could have.

Another hacker tried the same thing and was able to hack into the Hush from his laptop without entering a pin or password, and turn it on to vibrate.

Pen Test also took apart the Svakom Siime Eye, a vibrating endoscope (a vibrator with a camera on the end to record, well, whatever you stick it in). They found a shoddy mess of easily exploited technology.

None of this means you shouldn’t walk around with a vibrator in your anus or a camera in your wherever. You definitely should—it’s super fun. Being a sexually active adult means being aware of the risks: STDs, pregnancy, mediocre sex.

As sex tech advances, you just might have to add “someone might hack into my vibrating buttplug while it’s inside of me” to the list.