Amazon promoting baby monitors with security flaws that let hackers spy on children, report warns

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AMAZON is promoting Chinese made home security cameras and baby monitors despite evidence that hackers are hijacking their massive security flaws.

This is according to researchers at Which? who found serious issues with cameras that appear to have thousands of positive customer reviews on the Amazon website.

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Which? want Amazon and other marketplaces to stop selling the cameras[/caption]

An investigation by the consumer experts found that failures such as weak passwords meant that criminals could control the wireless cameras and spy on families in their own homes.

Which? tested the cameras ieGeek 1080p, which is £32.99, the Sricam 720p, at £26.24, the Victure 1080p, at £29.99, and the Vstarcam C7837WIP, at £39.99.

All these devices claim to provide safety for families and babies.

The report found that the ieGeek 1080p and the Sricam 720p cameras both have an app and inbuilt security flaw, which enabled WiFi passwords to be sent unencrypted over the internet to hackers.

Getty – Contributor

The investigation involved a security expert proving how the devices could be hacked[/caption]

This kind of hacking could allow a cybercriminal to control a camera from a completely different location.

One Amazon reviewer of the ieGeek baby monitor wrote: “Strangers were viewing my family and speaking to us through the mic. Horrible Experience.

“One evening the camera moved on its own and someone spoke to us, this was extremely unsettling… Was a horrible feeling knowing people had been viewing our everyday lives.”

Which? also found it “worryingly simple” to gain access and control the Victure 1080p camera.

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Hackers could control the devices from thousands of miles away[/caption]

The consumer experts found that the Vstarcam C7837WIP had features that are condemned by the government’s code of practice for products that are connected to the ‘Internet of Things’.

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to products that use WiFi to connect to the internet and can be controlled remotely.

As technology develops more and more households products are joining the IoT, despite security and privacy concerns.

Which? carried out further tests with a security expert who was able to expose a critical flaw that could affect over 50,000 camera in the UK and two million across the globe.

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Some customer reviews of the ieGeek baby monitor describe how random voices spoke to them through the device[/caption]

The security expert was able to hack into the Elite Security, Accfly Camhi APP Outdoor Security Camera 1080P and the Vstarcam C7837WIP.

Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at ESET, told us: “Usually, people want to open a new device, plug it in and start using it straight away. Rarely does security get a thought at this stage.

“However, it is extremely important customers are aware of the risks attached. There are a few things they can do to help protect themselves and their homes.

“When an IoT device, such as a baby monitor is bought, it may already have out of date firmware installed, so it’s essential the owner installs the latest firmware as soon as possible.

“Furthermore, the owner should make sure it’s kept up to date with further updates. The best devices are those that offer auto-updates so you don’t have to think about it.

“Secondly, a default username and password may come with the device. These must be changed instantly to something unique and complex and be stored safely in a password manager.

“Finally, if in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to reset the device to factory settings and start over with the latest updates and new passwords.

“Fresh installs can sometimes even speed up some devices, as well as make sure no one has access to it.”

Which? said it found it impossible to alert the Chinese manufacturers to the security flaws they found and thinks Amazon and other online marketplaces should remove the cameras from sale.

An Amazon spokesperson told us: “We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and we proactively monitor multiple sources for safety notifications, including from regulatory agencies and direct contacts from brands, manufacturers, and sellers.”

What is the Internet of Things?

Here's what you need to know about the IoT…

  • The Internet of Things  (IoT) is a system of interconnected computing devices in everyday objects that allow them to send and recieve data
  • In the consumer market the IoT is most ocmmonly associated with “smart home” devices that interconnect like security cameras, speakers, baby monitors and AI assistants like Amazon Alexa
  • Ther are a number of growing concerns about the privacy and security of the IoT
  • Problems include the fact that if a devices are hacked they can be used to spy on you


In other news, Amazon recently revealed Samuel L Jackson as a new voice for Alexa.

Amazon’s £4 ‘personal shopper’ subscription sends you new clothes in the post every month – and you only pay for what you like.

And here’s what happened when we tried out Amazon’s new Alexa devices — James Bond-style glasses and smart ring.

Do you worry about the security of smart home devices? Let us know in the comments…


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