Video Doorbell Theft on the Rise in US, Capture Thieves in Action

Who would have thought video doorbells would become so popular? Maybe it’s the reassuring thought that, no matter where they are, homeowners will know who has visited them or lurked around their home. Some doorbells are even equipped with facial recognition software, and most provide high-quality resolution images.

In the past year, people in the US have grown more knowledgeable about video doorbells, which has led to “the fourth highest adoption rate among smart home products in the US market, with very high growth potential in 2019,” according to research from Parks Associates.

“One-quarter of broadband households report intention to purchase a smart video doorbell in the next 12 months,” said Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates.

But one odd event has started taking place in locations across the US. Besides home owners, criminals have also apparently become more interested in video doorbells, and thefts are on the rise, writes Digital Trends. So far, homeowners in Las Vegas, Denver, Sacramento, Nashville and Miramar have fallen victim and the attacks don’t seem to stop.

Both Ring and Nest cameras were stolen, and the companies advise customers to immediately report the event to law enforcement. The police are doubtful the suspects will be identified based on the footage, so they recommend keeping a note of the serial number and an eye on online marketplaces.

The major problem is that video doorbells function like any other IoT device – once hacked, they can be manipulated to take part in large-scale DDoS attacks carried out by IoT botnets. Apart from this, data security is also a concern. Video doorbells capture biometrics from anyone ringing the bell, and since there is no policy around this, hackers can explore them as much as they like.

This also raises privacy concerns, as people ringing the doorbell might not know the camera is filming them. Sure, this will prove useful in this particular case as the doorbells are most likely recording the culprits. But what else might manufacturers do with all the biometric data collected?

6 comments

  • By LMN - Reply

    Hardwire it into your existing doorbell. If they try to steal it, they are going to get shocked doing it.

    • By JoeTech - Reply

      Most are hardwired 16 – 24 volts that standard doorbell chimes run are far from something that would discourage a would be thief. Let’s face it anyone that is stealing a camera that could potentially capture and transmit their crime. Manufacturers could equip them with GPS so if moved from a location they reportit.
      As well as having them locked down so any possible resale or use is not possible.

  • By CH - Reply

    Wish that was true, LMN, but doorbells are low voltage (12, 18, or 24v) and won’t shock anyone.

  • By Shefixesthings - Reply

    You obviously haven’t researched… Biometric data collected from Ring? How? It doesn’t store fingerprints or scan eyes… It’s a fancy intercom system that is insured if taken. A person is pretty dumb to try because the company can render it useless. Also, what is the point of a hacker tapping into the feed? So they can see what the mailman looks like? Or the thieves? Crappy article. I hope you didn’t get paid for it.

    • By Bogdan Botezatu - Reply

      Recorded faces are technically biometric data: “Biometric identification consists of determining the identity of a person. The aim is to capture an item of biometric data from this person. It can be a photo of their face, a record of their voice, or an image of their fingerprint”.

      This is why in Europe, for instance, installing a surveillance system to monitor property is a pretty difficult task if you want to do it legally. Monitoring a person without their knowledge is considered illegal when they are in an area with a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • By Garu - Reply

    Seriously? Doorbell are LowVoltage and will not shock anyone. Please don’t listen to this guy.

  • Add Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *