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Beware of these doorbell cameras that could be compromised by cybercriminals

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Chances are, if you’re like many people these days, you have a doorbell camera installed outside your front door. You know, the ones that let you see who’s at your door even when you’re miles away.

Without a doubt, they can be great for boosting security, and I definitely feel safer with mine running 24/7, but then comes this news. It turns out that some doorbell cameras have serious security flaws.

A recent Consumer Reports investigation revealed a troubling scenario.

Some doorbell cameras, touted for their ability to keep our homes secure, have been found to contain security failures. This disturbing discovery highlights the potential risks you face, whether you already own a doorbell camera or are considering integrating one of these devices into your home.

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Security flaws exposed by researchers

Researchers have identified major vulnerabilities in video doorbells manufactured by Chinese company Eken Group Ltd. These devices, sold among others under the brands Eken and Tuck, are available for purchase on major online sites. retail platforms including Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Shein and Temu.

The flaws could potentially allow unauthorized access to view images or even take full control of devices.

Dog caught on doorbell camera stealing package from neighbor’s porch

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Doorbell cameras exposed (Consumer Reports)

The technical problem discovered

The heart of the problem lies in doorbells’ reliance on an app called Aiwit, operated by the Eken Group. Scammers could exploit this by pairing an unsecured doorbell with their device, thereby gaining the ability to view or capture images and lock out the rightful owner.

Additionally, the lack of a registration code mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calls into question the legality of these devices in the United States.

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Aiwit app (Consumer Reports)

MORE: IS YOUR RING CAMERA VULNERABLE TO JAMMER OR INTERFERENCE?

Retailer Response to Survey

Following the investigation, retailers like Temu removed the doorbells in question from their listings. Walmart, recognizing the problem with third-party sellers, has taken steps to offer refunds.

Amazon, however, despite giving these products the “Amazon’s Choice” badge, had not responded to CyberGuy’s request at the time of publication. Critics argue that e-commerce giants like Amazon need to take more responsibility for the products sold on their platforms.

MORE: BEST CHOICES FOR IMPROVING YOUR HOME SECURITY

Industrial and regulatory challenges

The investigation highlights a complex ecosystem of brands and manufacturers often operating under multiple names and offering similar products. This makes it difficult to regulate and ensure the safety of products sold online. Despite contacting manufacturers and online retailers, Consumer Reports found that most of the problem products were still available for sale.

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Eken doorbell camera (Amazon)

MORE: HOW TO DETECT A HACKER SPYING ON YOUR RING CAMERA

What can you do to protect yourself

For your part, we recommend that you exercise caution and do your due diligence before integrating these doorbell cameras into your home. Here are 12 things you can do to stay protected.

1. Check the manufacturer of all video doorbells and security cameras: Investigate the manufacturer: check its reputation, read reviews, and see if it has a proven track record of safety. Remember, not all doorbell cameras are equal.

2. Disconnect and unplug any camera identified as dangerous or posing a safety risk: Consumer Reports has done the work for you. If you have one of the reported doorbell cameras, be sure to unplug that camera, disconnect it from your Wi-Fi network, and maybe even consider getting a more secure one, like the ones we have listed below. best video doorbells.

3. Access the camera’s app or web interface: Most modern doorbell cameras are managed via a smartphone app or web interface. Start by logging into your account.

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Here’s what you can do to protect your privacy on the Ring app:

  • Launch the Ring app
  • Tap the 3-line menu at the top left
  • In Control Center, check these three areas Account Verification – Switch to text instead of email Authorized client devices – review this list to make sure all of these devices belong to you or someone else that you allowed as a shared user Shared users – review each person listed to make sure you only see who you have granted access to
  • Account Verification – Switch to Text Instead of Email
  • Authorized client devices: Review this list to make sure all of these devices belong to you or someone else you have authorized as a shared user.
  • Shared Users: Review each person listed to ensure you only see those to whom you have granted access.

4. Update firmware and software: Regularly updating your device’s firmware and associated application is crucial for security. Manufacturers often release updates to fix vulnerabilities. Look for an “Update” or “Check for updates” option in the settings menu.

5. Check account security settings: Make sure your account is secure with a strong, unique password. Consider using a password manager to generate and store complex passwords.

Also enable two-factor authentication if available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification.

6. Check the camera privacy settings: Look for settings that control who can see your camera’s feed and when the camera records. Some devices allow you to set privacy zones, which are areas that the camera ignores when recording.

7. Manage data storage and sharing settings: Understand how your video recordings are stored, whether locally on the device, in the cloud, or both, and for how long. Review all options related to sharing data, especially with third parties.

8. Enable encryption: Make sure your camera supports end-to-end encryption to keep video streams and recordings secure. This makes it much more difficult for unauthorized people to access your data.

9. Secure your Wi-Fi network: Since your doorbell camera connects to your home Wi-Fi network, make sure your router is secure with WPA3 encryption if available. Also consider using a Guest Network for your smart home devices.

ten. Familiarize yourself with the privacy policies: Check the manufacturer’s privacy policy to understand how your data is used, shared and protected.

11. Monitor access logs: If the device or app offers access logs, check them regularly for unauthorized access.

12. Contact support for advanced settings: If you are unsure about any settings or their implications, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer’s customer support for advice.

Keep in mind that the specific steps and available settings can vary significantly between different brands and models of doorbell cameras. It’s always a good idea to consult the user manual or support documentation for your specific device for detailed instructions.

MORE: A PRIVACY WIN: AMAZON LIMITS POLICE ACCESS TO YOUR RING CAMERA

Kurt’s Key Takeaways

Consumer Reports’ disturbing revelations underscore the urgent need for stronger security measures and more rigorous oversight in the smart device sector. While technology offers the promise of making our homes smarter and safer, it also introduces new vulnerabilities that can be exploited. So be sure to follow the three recommendations above to protect yourself and your family from scammers and scammers who may attempt to violate your privacy.

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How concerned are you about doorbell camera security vulnerabilities and what steps would you take to mitigate these risks? Let us know by writing to us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

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