Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Your Smart Video Doorbell May Not Be Secure, Consumer Reports Testing Shows

Some models sold at major online retailers may have ‘terrible’ flaws, the nonprofit says

spinner image a person approaching a door and is being viewed through a video doorbell
Photo Illustration: AARP; (Source: Getty Images)

Smart internet-connected video doorbells are supposed to bring you peace of mind.

After all, they can let you peek at whoever is ringing the front door before you decide whether to let the person in. They can tell you if the package you’ve been expecting has been delivered, even if you’re not home, and maybe even dissuade a thief from stealing that package.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

They might even discourage a burglar from breaking into your house.

But is your sense of security misplaced? A troubling investigation from Consumer Reports suggests that might be the case, at least with certain smart doorbells sold through Amazon, Sears, Temu, Walmart and other popular digital marketplaces.  

Different brands but one China-based manufacturer

Eken- and Tuck-branded video doorbells that Consumer Reports put through its testing program have “terrible security” that exposes such products to hackers and poses a serious risk to consumers, the nonprofit says. Despite the different brand names, the Eken and Tuck models are identical products that the Eken Group in Shenzhen, China, manufactures.

The company did not respond to an AARP request for comment.

What’s more, Consumer Reports discovered at least 10 more video doorbells under different brands also appeared to be the same. They all leverage the Aiwit smartphone app available in the Apple App Store and downloaded more than 1 million times from Google Play. Apple does not release figures for total downloads.​

“You should not buy these particular doorbells unless you want an insecure doorbell,” says Stacey Higginbotham, a Seattle-area policy fellow at Consumer Reports who specializes in security for connected devices and right-to-repair laws.

Around 1 in 5 people age 50 and older own a doorbell camera, according to survey data from the Addison, Texas-based Parks Associates market research firm, figures that are roughly in line with all U.S. adults.

Consumer Reports listed several reasons these cameras are flawed:

  • The network name for your home internet protocol (IP) and Wi-Fi could be exposed to the internet without encryption, potentially opening your network to malicious activity.
  • A bad guy could hijack the device by downloading the Aiwit app and pairing it with the doorbell. That could allow this intruder to view video footage and lock the rightful owner out of the device. Among the potential dangers, an abusive ex-spouse who knows where the person lives can monitor comings and goings.
  • Hackers could grab still images remotely from the camera’s video feed.
  • The doorbell cameras in question lack the required Federal Communications Commission (FCC) registration codes, which can be used to look up a product’s safety record in the agency’s database to see if it has been tested for harmful radio interference.
Technology & Wireless

Consumer Cellular

5% off monthly fees and 30% off accessories

See more Technology & Wireless offers >

What can you do?

Disconnect an insecure camera. Disable the Wi-Fi and remove the camera from your door. You have numerous additional options to choose from.

Stick to well-known brands. Consumer Reports is not telling people to steer clear of video doorbell cameras altogether, but it is advising potential buyers to consider products from prominent brands such as Logitech, Nest, Ring and SimpliSafe that have better security track records.

“Companies like Amazon, which owns Ring, and Google, which owns Nest, are aware that security is an ever-changing game that they have to pay attention to,” Higginbotham says. “I always tell people to look up the product itself and the company to see how they respond to security incidents [and] reports of vulnerabilities.”

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134


Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Examine reviews but don’t rely on them too much. Pay attention to what customers are saying about a product, but don’t bank on user reviewers for safety and security. For example, one $39.98 Eken video doorbell camera received a 4-star rating (out of 5) on Amazon from more than 5,200 customer reviews. More than 500 were sold on Amazon in the past month.

Don’t assume a retailer has evaluated the product. That same Eken video doorbell received an Amazon Choice: Overall Pick designation from Amazon, even after the Consumer Reports report was released. Amazon gives these out to products it says are “highly rated, well priced and available to ship immediately.”

“Manufacturers and platforms that sell the doorbells have a responsibility to ensure that these products are not putting consumers in harm’s way,” Consumer Reports director of tech policy Justin Brookman said in a statement. “Major e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Walmart need to do a better job of vetting sellers and products sold on their platforms, so consumers are not put at risk. It’s become clear that we need new rules to hold online retailers more accountable.”

For now, determining whether a product is secure is a “real crapshoot for consumers,” Higginbotham says.

One development that may help is the voluntary government-backed cybersecurity labels plan for smart devices the FCC announced in July and is expected to put in place late in the year, she says. It’s kind of an Energy Star badge for cybersecurity.

“Hopefully within a year, consumers can actually look for this label and say, ‘Hey, this company … cares enough about cybersecurity, and they’re going to keep working at it. So, this is probably a better product for me to buy,” Higginbotham says.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?