Wyze Breach Leaves Data Of 2.4 Million Users Exposed Online

from the watching-you-watching-me dept

Another day, another company leaving massive troves of consumer data openly accessible to the internet.

One of the darlings of the holiday tech marketing season was Wyze Labs, which provides significantly cheaper ($20) in home internet-enabled cameras compared to competitors like Ring. While both Wirecutter and CNN put Wyze's cheap camera on their holiday must buy shopping lists, the company's customers got more than they bargained for under the tree this Christmas.

The folks at Twelve Security discovered that camera information, Wi-Fi network details, email addresses, Alexa tokens, and even biometric data of 2.4 million customers was inadvertently left available to the open internet from December 6 to December 27. Security researcher "Ghost" stated he'd "never encountered a breach of this magnitude," and noted that a significant, major breach had already impacted the same company about six months ago. A second post by the firm notes how the cameras are largely just rebranded Xiaomi cameras from China, funneling much of this collected data back to Alibaba cloud servers.

Wyze, which sells the cameras largely through its relationship with Amazon, told the New York Times that an "employee error" was to thank for the massive breach:

"The first Wyze breach occurred after an employee created a flexible database to quickly pull user analytics, such as camera connectivity rates, user growth and the number of devices connected per user, Mr. Crosby said.

That employee removed the security protocols on the new database, exposing customers’ personal information. Customers’ passwords were not saved on the breached database, so hackers could not access live camera feeds, said Dongsheng Song, a co-founder at Wyze."

Yeah, whoops. Prompted by the data leak, the company began a complete head to toe security audit (why this hadn't already been done isn't clear) and found another, second breach on December 27 -- the details of which haven't yet been made public and continues to be investigated by the company. On the plus side, the company at least acknowledged the need to do better, which doesn't always happen:

"“We didn’t properly communicate and enforce our security protocols to new employees,” Mr. Song said. “We should have built controls, or a more robust tool and process to make sure security protocols are followed,” he added. Wyze executives said that the employee who made the mistake is still employed at the company. “It was an accident,” Mr. Crosby said. “We are very, very sorry and taking it very seriously."

Most IOT vendors don't prioritize privacy or security because it erodes revenues. The consumers who buy these products only care about cheap tech. And government regulators remain uninterested in seriously penalizing companies that fail to secure their systems. As such, the breach highlights why in this vacuum there's such a growing push to begin including security and privacy warnings in user hardware reviews so consumers are at least fleetingly aware of the companies they're getting into bed with.

But it also again highlights how dumb tech (like say, a dog) often remains the smarter option.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: data breach, iot, security
Companies: wyze

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2020 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Wyze Breach Leaves Data Of 2.4 Million Users Exposed Onl

    I guess the joke was not funny

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.