6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, video doorbell security

video doorbell security

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(ABC 6 News) – Video doorbells make it easy for you to watch who’s coming and going, but who else might be viewing those videos?

The answer: hackers, and you’d likely never know it.

A new Consumer Reports investigation found troubling security flaws in some video doorbells sold by the country’s biggest retailers.

“We were really surprised to find that anyone could walk up to one of these doorbells and take it over in a matter of seconds, and from there actually view screenshots of the doorbell potentially from thousands of miles away, ” says Consumer Reports’ Dan Wroclawski.

Consumer Reports’ extensive security tests revealed a number of video doorbells that have serious security flaws that could make users vulnerable to a security breach.

They all use the same mobile app, called Aiwit.

The devices CR tested are sold under the brand names EKEN and Tuck, but CR found the doorbells sold under many other brand names, including FISHBOT, RAKEBLUE, Andoe, Luckwolf, and more.

Retailers including Amazon, Walmart and Sears, along with Shein and Temu sell them.

“Your home is deeply personal and private. If someone is able to view your doorbell camera and see when you come and go, it presents a lot of security risks. For example, an abuser or a stalker could keep tabs on a victim and it could create a very dangerous situation,” says Wroclawski.

Experts blame the flood of cheap, insecure electronics from Chinese manufacturers being sold in the U.S as a growing problem.

“We’re seeing a lot of overseas manufacturers create these obscure, cheap, no-name products and then flooding marketplaces here in the U.S. with them. Retailers do very little to vet these products, and it’s very easy to become a seller on one of these online marketplaces,” says Wroclawski.

Consumer Reports reached out to Eken and Tuck, but has not received a response.

If you have a video doorbell that uses the mobile app Aiwit and looks like the models shown in this report, Consumer Reports recommends you disconnect it from your home WiFi and remove it from your door.

CR has evaluated video doorbells with much better security from brands including Logitech, SimpliSafe, and Ring.

CR also shared its findings with the Federal Trade Commission, which has the power to remove products like these from the marketplace. The agency declined to comment on what action it might take, noting that its investigations are private.