Wireless doorbells allow you to see who’s at your door right from your phone’s screen. While these gadgets can increase the security and comfort of your home, a lot of people are wondering: can wireless doorbells be hacked?
Wireless doorbells require an internet connection to work properly. As such, they’re at risk of getting hacked whether it’s because of a weak password or unencrypted data being sent from smart doorbells to centers.
In today’s article, we’ll be discussing this topic in more detail, so keep reading to find out how a wireless doorbell gets hacked, what may happen if a hacker hacks your doorbell, and how you can stop your wireless doorbell from being hacked.
How Does a Wireless Doorbell Get Hacked?
To understand how a wireless doorbell can get hacked, you need to know that it requires a wireless internet connection to function properly. If a hacker can somehow disrupt or intrude on this internet connection, chances are they’ll be able to hack your wireless doorbell.
So what makes a wireless internet connection hackable? Well, there are mainly two slips that can make your device an easy target for hacker:
- A weak password — Any internet-connected device needs a strong password to protect the privacy of its contents, and a wireless doorbell is no exception. As a rule of thumb, the easier your password, the easier the hacker can break it to access your device and network.
So never leave your wireless doorbell with its default password. Not only is it easy to predict, but it’s almost always the same “123456” or “000000”.
Such passwords are no match for a hacker using password spamming software. What’s more, not all wireless doorbell brands will prompt you to set up a password.
This is why your first order of business after installing a wireless doorbell is to change the username and password. Pick something strong while you’re at it.
- Unencrypted data — A wireless doorbell will send bundles of data via your internet connection to its corresponding app and center. This data should be encrypted, which means that all the information it contains would be jumbled up to prevent hackers who manage to interrupt the data from understanding it.
Unfortunately, not all wireless doorbells do this. Some of them send data unencrypted, which makes information like your device’s password and your Wi-Fi password visible to anyone capable of intercepting the data.
Unencrypted data also increases the risk of undergoing a full device takeover. This is when a hacker succeeds in gaining complete control of your doorbell. Consequently, the hacker could harass your home by ringing the doorbell late at night or changing the volume.
In more dangerous cases, a hacker could install malware on the doorbell that would allow them to access your home internet network and other devices connected to it without restrictions.
What Can Happen if Your Wireless Doorbell Gets Hacked?
If your wireless doorbell gets hacked, you may endure the following security and privacy risks:
- Device control — As we mentioned above, device control allows the hacker to ring your doorbell at any hour of the night. This may seem like an annoying prank to some people but it can be terrifying for vulnerable or elderly people. Device control may also grant the hacker access to your video recording, tipping them off to when the house is empty.
- Home network exploitation — Hacking your wireless doorbell can facilitate hacking your entire home network, putting all the devices connected to it at risk of acquiring the personal data stored on them. This includes smartphones, laptops, tablets, and TVs.
- Online botnets — Weakly-secured devices are an easy target for botnet recruiters. Botnets are an army of smart devices that have been hacked to be used for illegal purposes such as large-scale hacking attacks on websites, companies, and servers.
How Can You Keep Prevent Hackers from Hacking Your Smart Doorbell?
The security issues on some wireless doorbells are so disastrous that they require a full redesign to make them up to standard. However, you can avoid some security weaknesses by implementing the following tips.
- Choose a strong password — Whenever you buy a smart device in your home, one of the very first things you should do is change its password. Keeping the default password is a major no-no; it’s basically an invitation for hackers to come and get it!
As such, stay away from predictable number combinations or phrases. Ideally, your password should consist of three random words.
- Keep the software up to date — Most of the time, software updates are intended for increasing security rather than providing new features, so staying up to date will boost your chances of fending off hacking attempts. Turn on the auto-update function, if possible, or manually check for new updates regularly for the device itself as well as its app.
- Use two-factor authentication — Two-factor authentication adds another layer of security to your wireless doorbell, setting up another obstacle for potential hackers.
Two-factor authentication is a one-time use password that’s usually sent to your phone whenever you try to login using your main password. Once you successfully log in, the extra password expires and you’ll need to request a new one the next time you want to log in.
- Turn off the doorbell — If you suspect that your wireless doorbell is unsecured, then simply turn it off. Using a doorbell that’s possibly easy to hack just isn’t worth it.
- Delete your data and recordings periodically — If you don’t need the saved data and recordings that your doorbell takes, then delete them on a weekly or monthly basis. If you ever want to remove or stop using the camera in your doorbell, make sure you restore it to factory settings. This will delete all your personal data from the device.
So can wireless doorbells be hacked? Unfortunately, yes. Getting hacked is possible if your passwords are weak or if the device sends unencrypted data.