Matt Hewison, chief operating officer at CyberWhite

CyberWhite, cyber security specialist based in the North East, is warning festive shoppers to be sensible when purchasing smart doorbells this Christmas.

Recent research conducted by consumer watchdog Which? found that many devices sold by online marketplaces, including Ebay and Amazon, are easily hacked, potentially sending passwords and personal information to cybercriminals in the UK and abroad.

The research, which was conducted on 11 devices, found at least two which could be manipulated to hack other smart devices within a household, obtaining names and passwords.

Smart devices are becoming more popular, with many homes owning several devices by trusted retailers including Apple, Google and Amazon, and the cybersecurity experts are warning that, if the wrong device is connected to a home network, the consumer could find themselves incredibly vulnerable.

Matt Hewison, chief operating officer at CyberWhite, said: “Smart devices are increasingly becoming popular Christmas presents, and smart doorbells are the latest ‘must have’ item, so we wanted to make people aware of the dangers before they put one under the tree for a loved one.

“There are many reputable brands which have undergone numerous safety checks, however there are some which meet the minimum standard, as exposed by Which? that could potentially leave a household wide open to fraud.

“When you buy any smart device, we would always recommend changing the factory set password to something long and difficult to guess and putting two-factor authentication in place where this is possible.

“Ironically, these smart doorbells sell on the basis that they keep you safe from potential intruders and allow you to monitor your property while you’re out, however, if you’re not careful, they could give cybercriminals to take your information without you even seeing.

“So even if doorbells (and sleighbells) are among your favourite things, you need to remain vigilant this Christmas.”