Danger at the door! Consumer expert warns how video doorbells can be a security threat

Is your smart doorbell making you vulnerable to theft?
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  • The smart video doorbell has become the buzzer of choice in recent years. And while they can be fabulous, consumer expert Alice Beer had a stark warning for This Morning viewers, on the dangers to look out for when shopping for one.

    She was on hand to outline the things you need to watch out for and which brands are reputable and safe to shop.

    Alice recommends Ring for safety: Black Friday Ring doorbell deals – security at the touch of a button

    Are video doorbells safe?

    Royal mail deliveries during Coronavirus

    Image credit: Derek Robinson

    Reporting on new research reported by consumer watchdog Which? Alice warns some smart doorbells are leaving homes vulnerable to hackers and criminals.

    ‘The advantages are huge. You can easily answer your doorbell from the convenience of you bath or your bed or even being away on holiday’ she begins. ‘But the disadvantages are that you could put yourself at risk by buying an unbranded or little-known product. From a company which really doesn’t care about your security’.

    ‘What Which? found in this report, with security group NCC, was that some of the little-known companies or unknown branded products – which on the surface look very similar to the market leaders like Ring and Nest – actually were exposing you to massive security flaws. Like letting somebody into your home’ she warns.

    What makes a video doorbell unsafe?

    Front door with flower pots

    Image credit: Mark Bolton 

    So how were these found to be unsafe? ‘Weak passwords, sending unencrypted data and some of them, quite frankly, just being too easy to knick from your front door!’

    The questionable video doorbells were all purchased by Which? through Amazon. When told about the problems Amazon immediately took seven of them off the site, however Alice was able to still buy three for the purposes of her This Morning segment.

    ‘This Victure doorbell, which actually has loads of positive reviews on Amazon, this was sending customer’s WIFI name and password, unencrypted to servers in China! Which is just ludicrous exposure’ Alice exclaims in horror.

    Read next: the best security cameras that promise to protect you and your home

    Home office with computer

    Image credit: Jon Day

    ‘Another problem that they found was ineffective mounting. I have a Ring doorbell and I needed to take mine off this morning. And it took me ages – and I was on camera the whole time. So very difficult to get off’ she explains. But some on the exposed list were super easy to remove, and as Alice points out there’s a market value for selling video doorbells.

    Speaking of the ‘really serious concerns found by the research’ Alice explains how Which? had tried to contact many of the brands, with no response.

    ‘If you buy products like this, that are unbranded and little-known, you too as a customer will find that you are unable to get hold of that company – when something goes wrong. So it’s really not worth the risk.’

    Alice ends by saying ‘This is really important. If you’re buying a doorbell, go for a reputable brand. Change your password, you must change your password. Install updates and all importantly enable the two-factor authentication.’

    Video doorbells it’s safe to buy

    Ring Video Doorbell Pro: was £229, now £149

    Even wiring this in is easy with an adapter included and all the tools and instructions to get you up and running quickly. And like the Spotlight Cam Battery, the Pro works with select Alexa devices to launch real-time video with your voice.

    View Deal

    Ring Video Doorbell 3:
    was £179, now £119
    With improved motion detection and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, this is definitely an upgrade on the Ring 2. Especially as it comes with 1080p HD that you can see, hear and speak from, whether that be your phone, PC or tablet.

    View Deal

    All-new Ring Video Doorbell: was £89, now £59
    An update from the original Ring Video Doorbell, enjoy improved motion detection and crisper night vision. It comes with standard 1080p HD video and can pair with Alexa-enabled devices.

    View Deal

    See the full list of brands tested and exposed by visiting Which?.

    Related: the best video doorbells we rate highly

    Stay safe and shop smart, with a brand that is trusted by the experts.


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