NATIONAL NEWS

These Are The Creepiest Holiday Gifts Of 2019

Nov 20, 2019, 9:56 AM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:03 pm
Holiday gifts are meant to be fun, but security researchers say some presents can be downright cree...
Holiday gifts are meant to be fun, but security researchers say some presents can be downright creepy. (Amazon/Ring/Petchatz/CNN)
(Amazon/Ring/Petchatz/CNN)

 (CNN) — Holiday gifts are meant to be fun, but security researchers say some presents can be downright creepy.

Researchers at Mozilla, the nonprofit internet organization behind the Firefox browser, released its third-annual “Privacy Not Included” list of popular internet-connected holiday gifts on Wednesday. Mozilla researched 76 items to determine how well some of the most popular gifts protect customers’ privacy and security.

Safety and privacy have increasingly come into focus as internet-connected devices continue to become popular and infiltrate people’s houses. Several top tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook and Google have come under scrutiny for monitoring users’ information.

To receive Mozilla’s minimum security standard badge, the products must use encryption, have automatic security updates, enact bug bounty programs to help report vulnerabilities and require users to change the default password.

Here are the products that didn’t meet Mozilla’s minimum security standards … and the two that scored the highest:

Ring devices

Three popular Ring devices failed to meet Mozilla’s minimum security standards, including the Ring video doorbellindoor cam and security cams.

Mozilla said the company doesn’t have a “great track record for securing customer data or hiring experienced security engineers,” and the researchers couldn’t determine if Ring’s products use secure encryption. Mozilla also said that Ring’s search for a “head of facial recognition research” contradicts the company’s claim that it doesn’t use the technology.

“All in all, this is a security video camera that raises just too many questions about privacy and security, in our opinion,” Mozilla said in a statement.

In response, Ring, which is owned by Amazon, said in a statement it “takes customer security seriously and we have experienced, full teams dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of our products and systems.”

Wemo Wifi Smart Dimmer

The $60 smart dimmer didn’t pass minimum security standards because Mozilla couldn’t determine how secure and private the product was.

“Security researchers discovered that the Belkin Wemo Insight Smart Plug is still at risk for attack even though security vulnerabilities had been identified and disclosed over a year ago,” Mozilla researchers said, adding that it could affect the entire line of Wemo smart home devices.

Artie 3000 Coding Robot

The $63 toy robot teaches kids to code. The robot has built-in Wi-Fi and Mozilla wasn’t able to tell if the data sent between the app and the robot was encrypted. The lack of security was alarming for a children’s product.

PetChatz HD

The $330 dog camera, which includes a scent diffuser, has a weird privacy policy that doesn’t apply to the device — only its website.

“And while unlikely, it’s possible some terrible person could hack in, diffuse your pet’s aromatherapy scents in the middle of the night causing a sneezing fit which leads to insomnia which causes you to fall asleep at the wheel on your way to work the next morning and you wreck your car,” Mozilla said in a statement.

Litter Robot 3 Connect

Yes, you can buy a $500 cat litter box that automatically scoops poop. Mozilla warned buyers that you can’t change the password when the device connects to Wi-Fi.

OurPets SmartScoop Intelligent Litter Box

cheaper $100 litter box failed several of Mozilla’s security requirements, including encryption and installing automatic security updates.

Top scorers

Mozilla called the popular Nintendo Switch gaming system a “good guy” for emphasizing “easy-to-use parental controls.”

Although Nintendo doesn’t share user data with third parties, some third-party games for the Switch “might be collecting and sharing your data.”

And Mozilla said the The Sonos One SL speaker received high marks because it doesn’t have a microphone.

“To think, a speaker simply built to play music and not listen to you all day long. Crazy!,” Mozilla said in a statement.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Authorities stand guard by a fence outside the Supreme Court following Supreme Court's decision to ...
DÁNICA COTO and CARA ANNA Associated Press

US abortion ruling sparks global debate, polarizes activists

The end of constitutional protections for abortions in the United States has pemboldened abortion opponents around the world, while advocates of abortion rights worry the Supreme Court ruling could threaten recent moves toward legalization in their countries.
1 day ago
NASA's first spacecraft designed to study a metallic asteroid won't be launching this year as plann...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

NASA’s Psyche mission to an unexplored metal world comes to a halt

NASA's first spacecraft designed to study a metallic asteroid won't be launching this year as planned, according to an announcement made by the agency on Friday.
1 day ago
Meeting of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with representatives of foreign media. (Ukrainia...
Associated Press

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Jacob King - WPA Pool/Getty Images)...
MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

Moderna COVID-19 shots now an option for older kids in US

There is now a second COVID-19 option for kids ages 6 to 17 in the U.S.
1 day ago
Abortion-rights and Anti-Abortion rights activists fill first street in front of the U.S. Supreme C...
Cindy St. Clair

How abortion laws will change in states surrounding Utah

The Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health allows states to reshape abortion laws. Utah’s trigger law will restrict abortion in most cases. Here’s a look at what laws will look like in surrounding intermountain states.
1 day ago
A United Airlines plane lands at San Francisco International Airport on March 07, 2022 in San Franc...
DAVID KOENIG, AP Airlines Writer

Pilots in line for big raises amid global travel disruptions

The largest pilots union has approved a contract that would boost the pay of pilots at United Airlines by more than 14% over the next 18 months, potentially clearing the way for similar wage hikes throughout the industry.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
These Are The Creepiest Holiday Gifts Of 2019