Why You Should Think Twice About Purchasing Smart Doorbells

We live in an era where most common appliances we know and take for granted are now “smart” and connected to the Internet. You might want to reconsider purchasing some that bring with them severe security vulnerabilities.

Retailers like Walmart and Amazon are selling “smart doorbells” and other connected devices that bear serious security threats to your home, the Washington Post reports.

The Post cites research out of the Florida Institute of Technology that zeroed in on these connected home security devices that might be far less than secure. Dr. TJ O’Connor, assistant professor, cybersecurity program chair and director of the IoT Security and Privacy lab at the school along with Daniel Campos, a graduate student, write that while Internet-connected smart doorbells and security cameras have gained popularity among Americans hoping to keep their families and homes safe, they found “four significant vulnerabilities” in doorbells and security cameras sold at major retailers.

“The vulnerabilities could enable a remote attacker to gain privileges, access to the devices, listen to all audio and video recorded on the devices, and ultimately use the devices to covertly spy on their users,” O’Connor and Campos write.

WeLiveSecurity reports that a lack of data encryption is common in many of these devices — specifically, video footage stored on them is often unencrypted, a significant security threat. Additionally, the security blog reveals that a lot of these connected smart home devices possess poor password protections, with many units coming with easily guessed default passwords as well as passwords that could be reset by “unwanted guests.” They also found that some connected home security products could be open to being “readily switched off or stolen,” making it much easier for burglars.

Given these concerns, how should you navigate the home security market when looking to purchase camera and doorbells for your home? Is it just not worth embracing the IOT if it means opening yourself up to being the victim of a burglary or cybercrime?

Not necessarily. As with any major purchase, do your due diligence. Read user reviews, make sure the brand you’re considering isn’t one that has been shown to be prone to hacks. Please practice proper security hygiene. This entails creating a strong and unique password and instituting two-factor authentication with all connected devices you bring into your home. Making a hasty purchase isn’t worth exposing you or your family to serious security risks.

Published by Peter Cavicchia

Peter Cavicchia is a retired U.S. Secret Service Senior Executive, now Chairman of the security consulting firm Strategic Services International LLC. https://petecavicchia.com/

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