Video doorbell security: How to stop your smart doorbell from being hacked Ⅰ

Video doorbell security: How to stop your smart doorbell from being hacked Ⅰ

Smart doorbells without the right security could provide a backdoor onto your home network for hackers.

Martin Pratt In this article How smart video doorbells get hacked What happens if my doorbell gets hacked How to keep your smart doorbell safe from hackers How to buy a secure smart video doorbell

How we test smart video doorbell security?

Being able to see who's at your door from your phone screen is inarguably useful, but how do you stop them letting unwanted guests into your home wi-fi network?

Smart doorbells have a camera in them and they are connected to an app on your phone. When the doorbell rings you get an alert on your phone so you can see, and even speaker, to whoever is at your door.

With masses of brands, some more recognisable that others, releasing doorbells that cost anywhere from £30 to £300, our tests have found some don't do enough to stop hackers infiltrating your network.

How smart video doorbells get hacked?

As with most internet-connected devices a strong password is vital. The easier your password is to break, the easier it will be for a hacker to gain access to your device and network. We've found doorbells with weak default passwords, such as '123456' or '000000' that will take a hacker using advanced password spamming software seconds to break. Worse still, not all of them press you to change your password. Don't wait for a reminder, change the username and password yourself.

Smart devices use their internet connection to send packets of data from the device to centres, some of which are on the other side of the world. This is normal, but we expect this data to be encrypted. Encrypted data means it's all been scrambled, so anyone managing to intercept it on its journey might as well be looking at Sanskrit: it will make no sense. If it's sending data unencryted then things like your device password, and even your wi-fi password could be visible to hackers who intercept the data.

There's also the risk of a full device takeover. This is as dicey as it sounds, a hacker would assume full control of your doorbell. Hackers could ring the doorbell at all hours of the night and change the volume. This is more mischievous than dangerous, but those same hackers could install malware on the doorbell that would give them unbridled access to your home network, and potentially other devices on it.

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