Researchers already found a way to fool Amazon Key and shut off your camera

amazon key hack news camera
It sounded too good to be true from the start: A lock that allowed deliverymen and service providers in without a key, all while promising to be perfectly safe and monitorable. We’re talking, of course, about Amazon Key, a system that allows folks into your home once they have scanned a unique barcode. We called it “invasive and creepy” once it was announced and now that a report from Wired suggests the system can be hacked, our opinion seems further justified.

A team of security researchers from Seattle-based Rhino Security Labs demonstrated that Amazon Key and its companion Cloud Cam could be disabled and frozen, allowing just about anyone to waltz into your home. If the system is thus disarmed, even if you’re watching a “live” stream, you wouldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. This wasn’t just an unfounded claim — when Wired told Amazon about the new security research, the company noted that it would issue a software patch to fix the problem “later this week.”

So how exactly would an attack work? According to Rhino, a delivery person would first have to gain legitimate access, unlocking your door with the Amazon Key app. But instead of relocking the door with their app, they could simply run a program either on a computer or on a handheld device built with a Raspberry Pi and an antenna that would deauthorize the Cloud Cam. Rather than going dark, the Cloud Cam would simply continuously show the last frame recorded before it was deauthorized. That means that the attacker, or anyone else, would go undetected.

To be fair, the likelihood of such an attack is rather slim. An attacker would have to be authorized to deliver a package at a certain address and time, regardless of whether or not the Cloud Cam were switched on or off. “Every delivery driver passes a comprehensive background check that is verified by Amazon before they can make in-home deliveries, every delivery is connected to a specific driver, and before we unlock the door for a delivery, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time,” Amazon pointed out. So unless a delivery person had a longstanding plan to do something nefarious, the whole scenario is rather unlikely. All the same, Amazon noted in a statement, “We currently notify customers if the camera is offline for an extended period. Later this week we will deploy an update to more quickly provide notifications if the camera goes offline during delivery.”

amazon cloud cam review header temp

Perhaps more concerning, however, is the fact that when a Cloud Cam is disabled, the Amazon Key is also disconnected. After all, the lock doesn’t maintain its own internet connection, as it relies upon the “Zigbee wireless protocol to the Cloud Cam, which acts as its connection to the Wi-Fi router and the rest of the internet,” Wired reports. This means that a potential thief could just follow a delivery person, and send the deauthorization command as the delivery is completed. Then, once is the coast is clear, the criminal could simply walk through the unlocked door.

Of course, this would involve a delivery person not paying attention to whether or not the door locked behind him or her, and Amazon notes that it instructs drivers not to leave a house if the door is unlocked. Plus, Amazon is also supposed to call a customer if a door is left unlocked for more than a few minutes.

Product Review

Glas may be gorgeous, but this spendy thermostat is no smarter than the rest

A stunning OLED screen tops the prettiest thermostat we’ve reviewed in years. But GLAS lacks the brains required to justify its premium price. Read more about it in our full review.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.

Shop early Black Friday deals on Philips Hue products from Amazon, today only

Avoid the Black Friday hassle and shop great online deals. Amazon is offering huge discounts on refurbished Philips Hue smart lighting products to help light your home. For today only, you can grab a range of smart home tech from Amazon.

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Smart Home

Save Smart: The Best Black Friday Smart Home Deals

The number of Black Friday sales can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best bang-for-your-buck deals you'll find this year on the most popular smart home products on the market.