Smart Doorbell Security Issues

Topics: specialty risk

Summary: Over the past few years, security flaws have been detected in video doorbells, such as Amazon’s Ring. Even with smart doorbell manufacturer updates to fix the vulnerabilities, it is important to know how to keep your personal data and information safe from hackers. Learn how in this article.

Ring Security Issues

The popularity of smart doorbells has been on the rise for the last several years. They provide homeowners and business owners with a sense of security, making it easy to see who is at the door and monitor their homes and businesses from afar. However, as with any internet-connected device, these security doorbells are susceptible to cybersecurity issues and potential hacking.

Security Flaws in Smart Doorbells

In late 2019, privacy issues were discovered in the popular Amazon Ring doorbell that could have allowed hackers to steal WiFi passwords and access homeowners’ networks. Another flaw was found, which would allow hackers to access video and audio on a doorbell, enabling them to spy on a homeowner. Amazon updated their app to fix both of these issues.

Consumer Reports and Which?, a British consumer watchdog, have looked at many video doorbell systems to test their security flaws. The research found various security issues, especially in unbranded or little-known video doorbell brands that could be purchased online. Some of the security vulnerabilities found include:
  • Lacking two-factor authentication: Multifactor authentication should be standard on any security camera or video doorbell.
  • Privacy protections: Doorbell manufacturers do collect personal data to make their product work, but some products collect more information than needed and keep the data for an unspecified time.
  • Scarcity of data encryption: A majority of doorbells reviewed did not have data encryption for stored personal data and video footage.
  • Poor password protection: Most video doorbell systems come with basic or easy to guess default passwords that are easy to hack and compromise.
  • Key reinstallation attacks (KRACK): This is an issue in the WiFi authorization process, allowing a hacker to break into a home WiFi system and access a homeowner’s network.

Cybersecurity Measures for Smart Doorbells

When shopping for a smart doorbell or other types of connected electronics, be sure to do your research and choose a reputable manufacturer who has procedures for securing their devices from potential cybersecurity issues. There are ways that video doorbell owners can make their doorbell camera system more cyber secured, including:
  • Use strong passwords: Make sure you have strong, unique and secure passwords for your video doorbell account and your WiFI network.
  • Don’t share login information: There might be times that you need to share your login information for someone you know to access your video doorbell. Security experts recommend adding that person as a shared user on the account instead of sharing passwords and logins.
  • Avoid sharing videos on social networks: Sharing surveillance videos on your social networks allow an easy way for hackers to get into your system.
  • Keep video doorbell software up to date: It is critical to regularly update the video doorbell software to ensure optimal security and performance.
  • Set up two-factor authorization: If your wireless doorbell has the option for a two-factor authorization, enable it to add an extra layer of security.

“The password piece in particular stands out in my mind”, notes Jeffrey Batt, a member of AmTrust’s Cyber team focused on strategy and cybersecurity mitigation solutions, “as some of these connected devices come with predictably simple default passwords that the consumer is not automatically prompted to change upon installation. If someone other than the homeowner is able to subsequently guess and disable the password, this could lead to several unnerving scenarios, such as an undetected home entry or burglary.”

Product Protections for Connected Homes

“As connected homes become more commonplace, we are seeing a greater demand for warranty products that protect the investment in these products,” said Brian Newman, Senior Account Manager in the home space division at Specialty Risk. “Consumers are willing to spend the extra investment to make their homes safer and more efficient, but they want the comfort of knowing they will be covered if these new home technologies break down.”

Today’s connected technology is transforming houses into smart homes. For the past decade, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been showcasing smart home technology. The newer products start at a higher price range, which means it is essential that consumers protect their investments. Product protection plans provide consumers with additional coverage on their newly purchased products, giving peace of mind that their devices are covered if they are damaged or defective after the manufacturer’s original warranty period.

AmTrust Specialty Risk Smart Devices and Protection Plan Survey gave insight into consumers’ behavior towards connected technology. The survey found that most consumers are concerned about data privacy and security for their smart devices and connected home. The survey results found the need for innovative cybersecurity insurance products and the capability to support devices with robust security protocols. Consumers expect more from their protection plans, including protection against identity theft, proactive replacement, technical support and preventive maintenance.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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