[Fox News] Beware of these doorbell cameras that could be compromised by cybercriminals

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Chances are, if you’re like many people nowadays, you’ve got a doorbell camera set up at your front door. You know, the ones that let you see who’s at your doorstep even when you’re miles away. 

No doubt, they can be great for enhanced security, and I definitely feel safer with mine running 24/7, but then comes this news. Turns out, some doorbell cameras have serious security flaws.

A recent investigation by Consumer Reports has unveiled a troubling scenario. 

Certain doorbell cameras, touted for their ability to keep our homes safe, have been found to contain critical security flaws. This disturbing discovery brings to light the potential risks you face whether you already have a doorbell camera or you’re thinking about incorporating one of these devices into your home.

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

The flaws could potentially allow unauthorized access to view footage or even take complete control of the devices.

DOG CAUGHT ON DOORBELL CAMERA STEALING PACKAGE FROM NEIGHBOR’S FRONT PORCH

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

Additionally, the absence of a registration code mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) further questions the legality of these devices in the U.S.

MORE: IS YOUR DOORBELL CAMERA VULNERABLE TO JAMMING OR INTERFERENCE?  

Following the investigation, retailers like Temu have pulled the questioned doorbells from their listings. Walmart, acknowledging the issue with third-party sellers, has taken steps to offer refunds.

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

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The investigation highlights a complex ecosystem of brands and manufacturers often operating under multiple names and offering similar products. This complicates the task of regulating and ensuring the safety of products sold online. Despite contacting the manufacturers and online retailers, Consumer Reports found most of the problematic products still available for sale.

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

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

1. Check the maker of all home video doorbells and security cameras: Investigate the manufacturer — check their reputation, read reviews and see if they’ve got a track record of keeping things secure. Remember, not all doorbell cameras are created equal.

2. Disconnect and unplug any camera identified as unsafe or a security risk: Consumer Reports has done the legwork for you. If you own one of the doorbell cameras it has flagged, be sure to unplug that camera, disconnect it from your Wi-Fi, and maybe even consider getting a more secure one like the ones we’ve listed here under top video doorbells. 

3. Access the camera’s app or web interface: Most modern doorbell cameras are managed through 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:

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

5. Review account security settings: Ensure your account is secured 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 camera privacy settings: Look for settings that control who can view your camera feed and when the camera records. Some devices allow you to set privacy zones, which are areas 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 any options related to data sharing, especially with third parties.

8. Enable Encryption: Ensure that your camera supports end-to-end encryption for video feeds and recordings to remain secure. This makes it much harder for unauthorized individuals to access your data.

9. Secure your Wi-Fi network: Since your doorbell camera connects to your home Wi-Fi network, ensure your router is secured with WPA3 encryption if available. Also, consider using a guest network for your smart home devices.

10. Familiarize yourself with privacy policies: Review 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, regularly check them for any unauthorized access.

12. Contact support for advanced settings: If you’re unsure about some settings or their implications, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer’s customer support for guidance.

Remember, 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  

The disturbing revelations from Consumer Reports underscore a pressing need for tighter security measures and more rigorous oversight in the smart device industry. 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 keep you and your family protected from creeps and crooks who might be trying to violate your privacy.

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

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