Consumer Reports Says Amazon, Walmart, Others Selling Unsafe Video Doorbells

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Amazon, Sears, Shein, Temu and Walmart are among the online retailers selling video doorbells that “have security vulnerabilities that could expose users to hackers,” according to a recent Consumer Reports investigation.

Consumer Reports “found issues with a dozen seemingly identical video doorbells sold under brand names including Eken and Tuck,” according to a Yahoo! Finance report. All the potentially compromised video doorbells are made by Shenzen, China-based Eken Group and controlled through a mobile app called Aiwit, which Eken operates, the investigation found.

The doorbells “appeared in multiple listings on Amazon, with more than 4,200 sold in January, according to the Yahoo! Finance report on the Consumer Reports investigation. Both brands are often touted as “Amazon’s Choice: Overall Pick,” the investigation found.

“These video doorbells from little known manufacturers have serious security and privacy vulnerabilities, and now they’ve found their way onto major digital marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart,” says Justin Brookman, director of tech policy at Consumer Reports, in its report.

“Both the manufacturers and platforms that sell the doorbells have a responsibility to ensure that these products are not putting consumers in harm’s way,” he says.

Inside Consumer Reports’ Video Doorbell Investigation

The troubles uncovered by Consumer Reports researchers uncovered several issues with the video doorbells, including:

  • Exposure of a user’s home IP addresses and WiFi network names to the internet without encryption, potentially opening a user’s home network to malicious activity;
  • Ability of potential bad actors to take over the device by downloading the Aiwit smartphone app and entering the doorbell into pairing mode, allowing them to take ownership of the device, view camera footage and lock out the owner of the device;
  • Remote access to still images from the video feed and other information without authentication, by acquiring the serial number of the doorbell;
  • Lack of a registration code that must be visible on this class of product, under Federal Communications Commission regulations.

Consumer Reports’ investigation says “new rules are needed to hold online retailers accountable for vetting sellers and the product sold by their platforms,” according to the Yahoo! Finance report. The consumer watchdog group called on the Federal Trade Commission to stop the online sales of the doorbell cameras and on retailers to “do more to ensure the quality of the products they sell,” it says.

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