Amazon has been accused of promoting home surveillance cameras, webcams and baby monitors which “put people’s privacy at risk” by consumer watchdog Which?
Which? tested six home surveillance items which Amazon had granted an “Amazon Choice” label, bumping them to the top of search results.
All of these devices were found to have massive security flaws, including weak passwords and unencrypted data, potentially leaving the devices vulnerable to hacking and customers vulnerable to “ratting”.
Ratting, which comes from the phrase RAT or Remote Access Tool, involves someone hacking into a computer or device and spying on victims, referred to as “slaves”, via inbuilt cameras.
“There appears to be little to no quality control with these sub-standard products, which risk people’s security yet are being endorsed and sold on Amazon and finding their way into thousands of British homes,” Which? senior consumer rights editor Adam French said.
“Amazon and other online marketplaces must take these cameras off sale and improve the way they scrutinise these products. They certainly should not be endorsing products that put people’s privacy at risk.
“If they refuse to take more responsibility for protecting consumers against these security-risk products then the Government should look to make them more accountable.”
As many as 50,000 cameras in the UK and 2 million worldwide sold through Amazon may be affected by similar security flaws, according to the report.
Security specialist Sonatype’s vice president Wai Man Yau added: “The revelation that more than 50,000 internet-connected cameras sold by Amazon and other retailers could have critical security flaws will send a shiver down the spine of consumers, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.
“Every day thousands of vulnerable software components are built into a wide range of devices, and this isn’t limited to unknown brands lurking on Amazon.”
Amazon has never revealed to the public how it determines which products get an Amazon Choice rating, but stated in response to the report: “We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations, and we proactively monitor multiple sources for safety notifications, including from regulatory agencies and direct contacts from brands, manufacturers, and sellers.”