Did a toymaker ignore warnings about a data breach? That\u2019s a key question swirling around Spiral Toys, a company behind a line of smart stuffed animals that security researchers worry can be easily hacked.On Tuesday, Spiral Toys said the\u00a0breach, which affects 800,000 user accounts, only came to its attention last week on Feb. 22.The statement is raising eyebrows. One researcher named Victor Gevers\u00a0began contacting the toymaker about the problem in late December, when he noticed that a company MongoDB database storing customer information was publicly exposed.Gevers has even\u00a0documented\u00a0his efforts to contact Spiral Toys, which involved email, sending a message to its CEO over a LinkedIn invite, and working with a journalist from Vice Media to try and warn the company about the breach.Despite those attempts, he never received a response.The breach only managed to grab headlines on Monday when another security researcher named Troy Hunt\u00a0blogged\u00a0about it. \u00a0Clashing viewsThe toys in question, which are sold under the CloudPets brand, can allow parents and their children to send voice messages through the stuffed animals over the internet. However, Hunt found evidence that hackers looted the exposed MongoDB database that stored the toys' customer login information.\u201cAnyone with the data could crack a large number of passwords, log on to accounts and pull down the voice recordings,\u201d\u00a0he said.Why didn\u2019t Spiral Toys act sooner? Its CEO Mark Meyers said on Tuesday that the company has checked its email inboxes, but didn\u2019t find any messages from security researchers warning about the breach.However, last week a journalist from Vice Media did contact the company about the incident, Meyers said.Nevertheless, Spiral Toys didn\u2019t speak with the journalist. \u201cI can tell you, I think he was going to write an article that was damning one way or another. Why would you add to that?\u201d Meyers said in an interview Monday.\u201cWe looked at it (the problem) and thought it was a very minimal issue,\u201d Meyers added.Ongoing concernsBut security researchers don\u2019t agree. It appears that several hackers have looted the exposed database from Spiral Toys, according to Hunt. Although the passwords exposed in the breach are hashed, cracking them can be easy, because many of them were created with guessable terms such as 123456, qwerty and cloudpets, he said.\u201cI\u2019m just stunned at the nonchalance and total disregard for the privacy of parents and their kids,\u201d Hunt said of Spiral Toys\u2019 initial response to the incident. \u00a0To deal with the breach, Meyers said on Monday it planned on forcing users to reset their passwords. But Hunt is questioning why the company didn\u2019t act faster. \u00a0\u00a0\u201cWhy did they not do this when they originally learned of the breach? Why must it take public disclosure to force this?\u201d he asked in his email.Gevers said in a Twitter message: \u201cI think I have tried enough to make contact.\u201d However, he\u2019d still like to speak with Spiral Toys about properly informing their customers about the breach.Legal ramificationsA company like Spiral Toys, which is based in California, is required under state law to report a data breach involving user\u2019s personal information. But it\u2019s not unusual for a company to need several weeks or months to thoroughly investigate a breach before reporting it, said Lothar Determann a partner at law firm Baker McKenzie, who wrote a book on California privacy law."Companies have a duty to investigate breaches thoroughly," he said. In that away they can avoid false alarms that might needlessly scare consumers or end up throwing a business partner under the bus.He declined to comment about any specific companies, but he also said that California\u2019s data breach law is designed so that state residents can claim damages from companies that fail to comply with data breach notifications. \u00a0In addition, the state's attorney general has sued companies for failing to report data breaches without a valid reason, he said.\u00a0Whether a\u00a0plaintiff will win is another matter. Proving a data breach caused actual\u00a0harm can often be speculative, he said.\u00a0On Tuesday, Spiral Toys said the company would file a data breach report in California once its addressed customers' needs. But the company added that it\u2019s found no evidence that any voice recordings made over the toy systems were exposed. \u00a0"The CloudPet services have been running safely since March 2015 and we are taking all steps necessary to continue to run safely on our production servers," the company claimed in a statement.