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)

 (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

This booking image provided by the Chicago Police Department, shows Eva Bratcher, who has been accu...
Associated Press

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
1 day ago
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 02...
Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro

House GOP votes to oust Democrat Omar from major committee

House Republicans have voted to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
1 day ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on F...
Colleen Long and Chris Megerian, Associated Press

Biden urges unity at prayer breakfast under new management

President Joe Biden attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington and delivered a message of unity.
1 day ago
FILE: Groundhog handler AJ Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late sp...
Associated Press

Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
1 day ago
Law enforcement officers aim their weapons at a home during a standoff in Grants Pass, Ore., on Tue...
Associated Press

Oregon kidnapping suspect dies of self-inflicted gunshot

The suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
2 days ago
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference after a Federal Open M...
Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Fed lifts rate by quarter-point and signals more hikes ahead

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
These Are The Creepiest Holiday Gifts Of 2019