Some doorbell cameras sold on Amazon, other sites have major security flaws: report

An Amazon Prime delivery van sits parked near a Walmart store on September 03, 2020 in Richmond, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Some doorbell cameras sold by Amazon and other online retailers may have security flaws, including the ability for a stranger to view footage from a person’s device or control it completely. 

According to an investigation published Thursday by Consumer Reports, they found issues with cameras manufactured by the Chinese company Eken Group Ltd., which produces video doorbells under the brand names EKEN and Tuck, among others.

Engineers Steve Blair and David Della Rocca discovered the problems while evaluating several video doorbells for Consumer Reports’ regular ratings program.

The researchers found the doorbell cameras made by Eken Group can be controlled by a company-operated app called Aiwit. They said people can create an account on the app and gain access to a nearby doorbell camera by pairing it with another device. That gives them the ability to view footage — or access still images — and lock out the owner from the device.

The researchers from the product-review organization said that the doorbells also lack a visible ID issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that is required by the agency’s regulations, making them illegal to distribute in the U.S.

"Video doorbells are supposed to help you keep an eye on strangers at the door, not let other people watch you," Consumer Reports wrote in their report.

They said thousands of the devices are sold each month on Amazon and other online marketplaces, including Walmart, Sears, Shein and Temu.

A spokesperson for Walmart told the Associated Press that the company has removed those items and was offering refunds under its return policy.

RELATED: Ring will stop allowing police request doorbell camera footage from users

Amazon did not immediately respond to AP’s request for comment, and the doorbell cameras appeared to still be available on their site Thursday evening. Sears and Shein also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"Products like these, by failing to prioritize trust and safety, put domestic violence victims at risk. Without question, the one place a victim needs to be safe is in their home," Adam Dodge, CEO of EndTAB, a nonprofit that provides information on how to combat technology-enabled abuse, said in the report. "Devices designed to make someone feel safe at home, while actually doing the opposite, shouldn’t be allowed on the market."

If you own one of these doorbells, Consumer Reports recommends that you disconnect it from your home WiFi and remove it from your door. The organization said it has evaluated video doorbells with much better security from brands including Logitech, SimpliSafe, and Ring – which is actually owned by Amazon. 

The Associated Press contributed.