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Amazon Key can be hacked, opening your home to theft

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In a courageous move to constantly work on enhancing delivery experience, you may have heard that Amazon introduced a new option called “Amazon Key“, which actually grants Amazon delivery drivers access to your home to drop off a package so that it isn’t sitting outside. This is done using a WiFi enabled deadbolt that can be unlocked remotely. Of course this sounds terribly…well…terrifying at first. However, their Amazon Key package also includes a security camera that allows you to watch the event take place, to make sure the driver does what they are supposed to and leaves promptly (yeah, still terrifying).

Regardless, to most consumers, allowing anyone like that to have access to your home sounds like a risky move not worth taking. At least, you would think this to be true. However, there are many Amazon customers who have already jumped at trying it out. One of these was a woman by the name of “Rachelle”, who allowed a cybersecurity professional (or white hat hacker) to give it a try at cracking the setup. In a story originally discovered by NBC, this man was Ben Caudill, owner of Rhino Security Labs, and he was able to do exactly that.

He managed to do it by disabling her Wi-Fi network and freezing the camera’s feed. Of course without WiFi, there is no way for the smart lock to share any notification of there being a problem or event. Meanwhile,¬†Rachelle doesn’t notice anything out of the normal, even though she was watching it all via the camera’s “live feed” (or at least what she thought was the live feed), she doesn’t think anyone has come to her home. Little did she know, someone could have broken in and started to rob her blind.

Amazon responded with an update to the system that speeds up a notification that the camera has become unavailable, however it still doesn’t let you know if everything is fine or if something is amuck. They were quick to point out that this is an issue with most WiFi networks and not the fault of Amazon’s system, therefore little can be done about it. They told NBC that they do deep background checks on each drivers and they are notified if a lock has remained unlocked for a suspicious amount of time.

Mr. Caudill continues to push for a better solution that doesn’t leave homes vulnerable to break-in, since you are expected to disable any alarm system during the delivery window else the Amazon Key system won’t work (at least it won’t without setting off an alarm). So for now, it seems you really are putting a lot of risk in making use of Amazon’s program. Here’s hoping that they figure out a suitable solution. Regardless, I know I personally won’t ever be making use of the program (and I get most of everything I buy from Amazon, like so many).

For more information on Amazon Key, you can visit Amazon’s official page here.

Despite all of this, smart locks are quite useful (regardless if you take part in Amazon’s program or setup your own solution). You can remotely check to make sure the front door is locked and lock it from your phone if it isn’t. If you have friends or family visiting but they beat you there, you can unlock the door remotely all the same. You can assign personalized key codes to others living with you or temporary ones for those who are just visiting. In some smart home solutions, you can even have it automatically lock as part of your alarm system arming or any other “scene” you want to create.

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About Author

Tracy

Tracy comes with a background in computer science and engineering. She has a vast knowledge of consumer electronics, an avid RC/drone hobbyist and has been benchmarking both electronics and applications since 16 years of age. She has authored 3 personal blogs since 1999 and written for ProAudio magazine. The best way to win her heart, is a box of german truffles.

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