British police arrest 21-year-old man tied to VTech toy hack

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LONDON (Reuters) - British police have arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with the hacking of toymaker VTech Holdings 0303.HK, which exposed the data of 6.4 million children, in what experts said is the largest known theft of personal data targeting kids.

The South East Regional Organised Crime cyber unit said in a statement on Tuesday that it had a arrested a Bracknell man on suspicion of unauthorised access to computers and data. The town, located west of London, is home to numerous tech firms.

“We are still at the early stages of the investigation and there is still much work to be done,” Craig Jones, head of the regional cyber crime unit said in a statement. A number of electronic items were seized by the police, it said.

No further details were provided.

VTech, a Hong Kong-based firm, disclosed the massive data breach early in December. It subsequently said 6.4 million children and 4.9 million adults had their personal information stolen in the attack. Nearly half of the victims live in Europe.

Regulators in Hong Kong, several U.S. states and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office subsequently said they were looking into the data breach, which also led to the theft of personal information on 5 million adults.

U.S. lawmakers have asked VTech to explain why it collects data on children, and how it secures that information.

Reporting By Eric Auchard; editing by Michael Holden