On Feb. 29, 2024, Consumer Reports published an alarming report about a security flaw that impacts some popular video doorbells.

Privacy and security test engineers from the publication found that cameras on several brands of video doorbells, all of which are widely sold online, have a security gap that allows them to be easily hacked by anyone—no tech knowledge needed.

Consumer Reports said: “Anyone who can physically access one of the doorbells can take over the device—no fancy tools or fancy hacking skills needed.” TechCrunch summarized the issue as one that “allows hackers to take over the camera by just holding down a button.”

The flaw has been reported to the Federal Trade Commission who could choose to pull products from sale, but in the meantime, Consumer Reports’ research is a huge reminder to us all to be cautious about how we choose our connected devices.

Here are some tips for selecting and setting up connected devices to maximize your safety:

Also, Consumer Reports notes that this situation highlights that sellers don’t test the products they sell for security concerns. It also reminds customers that those “Amazon’s Choice” (and similar) badges are generated by an algorithm, and are based on the product’s ratings, price, and popularity to name a few factors—and don’t reflect that one product is better or more secure.

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