Though Amazon reportedly experienced another record-setting holiday season, it also suffered its share of challenges. Among the holiday favorites for many Amazon shoppers was Wyze, the economical, smart home camera system launched by former Amazon staff. Though the top-selling item provided a major boost for Amazon’s holiday revenue, a new data breach may change that record success.
A Wyze security breach confirmed in late December is said to have affected more than 2 million customers, according to Fortune. Though the full extent of the breach has yet to be revealed, it involved account information, such as email addresses, Wi-Fi information, and security tokens. According to Wyze, no financial data or passwords were compromised.
The latest breach places Amazon at the epicenter of another security glitch. Wyze likely became a viable alternative for wary shoppers shying away from Amazon’s controversial Ring home camera system. Amazon and Ring were recently named in a class-action lawsuit declaring that both had not taken appropriate, extensive measures to ensure user security. Prior to the 2019 security challenges with Ring, Amazon came under fire for the transmission of private recordings associated with the Echo devices of customers in 2018. Questionable encryption practices for Amazon Simple Storage Service provided through Amazon Web Services, also made headlines in 2017.
Although personally identifiable information was not disclosed in all cases, these incidents and others point to a compelling need for regulations that protect user privacy. They raise questions about the extent to which hackers can manipulate data to glean more user information and about the scope of responsibility that companies like Amazon have for ensuring user security. Newly proposed federal and state regulations that could address these issues could take time to slowly develop and refine.
Perhaps the fastest way to initiate reforms would be for companies like Amazon — which generated $233 billion in revenue in 2018 — to feel an impact to their bottom line. Many Wyze users will now be sure to take advantage of Amazon’s new, extended no-questions-asked return policy, upending Amazon’s holiday revenue, and taking the wind out of its “sales” at a most critical time.