What happens if my doorbell gets hacked?
You'll probably never know, but the risks to your privacy and security are serious.
Having your doorbell ring at all hours of the night may just be an annoyance for some, but for elderly or vulnerable people this could be terrifying. They will also have access to your recordings and potentially when the house was empty.
Home network exploitation
Just like the doorbell is attached to the door of your home, a hacked smart doorbell can be a doorway to your entire network. Think of the amount of connected devices there are in your home and the kind of personal data on them. Laptops, smartphones, TVs; they are all at risk if a vulnerable doorbell gives a hacker access to you home network.
Botnets are an army of slave devices that have been hacked for nefarious purposes. The collective power of this army of smart devices is used to mount large scale attacks on companies, websites and servers. Devices with weak security, such as some of the doorbells we've tested, are easy prey for botnet recruiters.
How to keep your smart doorbell safe from hackers?
Some smart doorbells have such catastrophic security failures that nothing short of a full redesign will get them up to security scratch, but other vulnerabilities can be avoided by making some changes to your device.
Change the password
There isn't a smart device in your home where you shouldn't change the password for it. The default one will almost always be weak and easy to hack. The most secure passwords you can set yourself will be a combination of three random words.
Keep it up to date
Software updates are usually beefing up security rather than adding new features. Turn the auto-update on if you can, or check regularly for new updates if you can't. It's not just the device itself, check the connected apps on your phone for updates, too.
Use two-factor authentication
Every additional layer of security is another hurdle for a hacker to climb over, and two-factor authentication is a tall hurdle. 2FA is an extra one-time use password that's sent when you try and login. It's usually sent to your phone so only you can see it, and once it's used you'd need to request a new one next time.
Turn it off
This sounds flippant, but we're serious. If you've bought a device that you suspect is unsecure then turn it off. It really isn't worth the risk to keep using a doorbell that's easy to hack. Our smart doorbell reviews specify if we found any significant security risks, so you can use them with peace of mind.
Delete your recordings and data
If you don't need the recordings taken by your doorbell then delete them, the same goes for any kept on cloud servers by doorbells with additional subscriptions. If you ever want to get rid of the camera then be sure to restore it its factory settings to ensure any of your personal data is deleted.