E-commerce company Amazon is seeking a ‘key’ to your residence

WION Web Team
California, United States Published: Jul 23, 2021, 07:14 PM(IST)

An Amazon distribution center (file photo) Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Amazon.com Inc's cloud service, Amazon Web Services has been hacked previously 

Amazon.com, founded by Jeff Bezos, is tired of ringing doorbells and is seeking a ‘key’ to your residence.

Is it a creative and lucrative idea or an opportunity for hackers to steal data? Only time will tell.

The E-commerce giant is pushing landlords around the United States to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment-building doors themselves with a mobile device.

The service, dubbed Key for Business, is pitched as a way to cut down on stolen packages by making it easy to leave them in lobbies and not outside. 

The benefit to Amazon is that it enables delivery workers to make their rounds faster and fewer stolen packages reduce costs and could give the company an edge over competitors.

Those who have installed the device say it reduces the constant buzzing by delivery people and is a safer alternative to giving out codes to scores of delivery people.

But the Amazon programme, first announced in 2018, may stir security and privacy concerns as it gains traction.

According to Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher who was a senior tech advisor to former President Barack Obama, any device connected to the internet could be hacked, including the Amazon one, and bad actors could try to unlock the doors.

“You’re essentially introducing a foreign internet-connected device into an otherwise internal network,” said Soltani, who was also a former chief technologist at the US Federal Trade Commission.

The company said that it does background checks on delivery people and that they can unlock doors only when they have a package in hand to scan.

But tenants may not know that Amazon drivers have access to their building’s front doors, since Amazon leaves it up to the building to notify them.

Amazon salespeople have been fanning out to cities across the country to knock on doors, make cold calls or approach building managers on the street to urge them to install the device.

The company has even partnered with local locksmiths to push it on building managers while they fix locks. Amazon installs the device for free and sometimes throws in a $100 Amazon gift card to whoever lets them in.

Amazon.com Inc's cloud service, Amazon Web Services has been hacked previously by a former employee who obtained personal information including names and addresses of about 100 million individuals.

The perpetrator gained access through a misconfiguration of the web application and not the underlying cloud-based infrastructure.

The company had issued a fix to rectify security flaws in certain of its Blink home camera systems after a cybersecurity firm found vulnerabilities that could let hackers hijack the device.

Tenable Inc, which discovered the issues, said seven severe vulnerabilities in Blink’s XT2 camera systems could have given attackers full control over the device and allow them to view the camera footage remotely.

(With inputs from agencies)

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