AUSTIN, Texas — You may see them when you drive by a neighborhood – doorbells with Ring cameras. But it's the Ring cameras inside the house that are making headlines.
Recently, videos have surfaced online from multiple homes where people say someone hacked their Ring cameras.
A person in Grand Prairie, Texas, said someone set off their indoor Ring camera alarms and then a voice came over the speaker.
"This is Ring support," the voice said.
The voice then said, "Pay this 50 bitcoin ransom or you will get terminated yourself."
In Tennessee, someone hacked into a ring camera of an 8-year-old girl's bedroom.
"You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room, you can break your TV," the voice said.
In Florida, a man heard racist comments coming from his ring camera.
"So did your child come out black or kind of like, light-skinned? I don't know," the voice said.
A Ring spokesperson said in a statement:
"Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. Our security team has investigated this incident and we have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.
"Recently, we were made aware of an incident where malicious actors obtained some Ring users’ account credentials (e.g., username and password) from a separate, external, non-Ring service and reused them to log in to some Ring accounts. Unfortunately, when the same username and password is reused on multiple services, it’s possible for bad actors to gain access to many accounts.
"Upon learning of the incident, we took appropriate actions to promptly block bad actors from known affected Ring accounts and affected users have been contacted. Consumers should always practice good password hygiene and we encourage Ring customers to change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication."
Some steps to keep your account secure, according to Ring, are enabling two-factor authentication in the Ring app from the app's account settings, adding shared users to an account instead of providing login information, updating your password regularly and creating strong passwords.
Sridhar Sudarsan, chief technology officer for SparkCognition, an Austin-based company that builds artificial intelligence systems and works with cyber security, said hacking in devices is unfortunately a known problem.
“As the number of devices that are helping us all as consumers grow, whether they be cameras, whether they be doorbells, whether they be your thermostat, connected devices, appliances, all of these have user access, and so they’re all prone to potentially being hacked," said Sudarsan. “There’s a lot of information that is private and confidential that could get out there and then after that the vulnerabilities are there to be attacked.”
He recommends users of Ring follow the extra steps to take when securing an account like strong and ever-changing passwords, turning on two-step authentication and more.
He also said this should not worry people too much if they take those steps.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of worry to a point where you want to get to not use these devices because there’s a lot of value that these devices provide,” said Sudarsan. “It is raising our qualities of life; however, with that comes the need for consumers to be aware of the fact that there are certain kinds of things that they need to be on top of.”
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