Raleigh security expert advises safety measures after reports of Ring smart home device hacks

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Security breaches are being reported across the country involving the home security and smart home company Ring.

Ring devices are popular gifts for the holidays.

They allow people to see and speak to whoever’s at their door. People also put them inside their homes to monitor family and pets, but it turns out they’re not always the only ones who can get into the system.

In a Ring video shared out of Mississippi, you can hear music playing as you’re looking into an empty kids room.

Moments later, you see a little girl walk in. You can see her trying to find where the tune’s coming from, then a voice starts speaking to her.

“I’m your best friend,” the voice says. “You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room. You can break your TV.”

He uses a racial slur repeatedly.

“Who is that?” the girl asks.

“I’m your best friend. I’m Santa Claus,” the man answers.

The girl then calls for her mom.

Her mother says someone hacked their Ring camera.

People have complained of similar instances all over.

The mother in Mississippi told CBS 17 she used the camera to check on her daughter since she works the night shift and her daughter has a history of medical issues.

“It’s extremely terrifying to see that happening, especially with a child so young,” said solution architect Chris Whittle with StoredTech.

Whittle said hacked devices often comes down to security.

“It tends to start with your home wireless network,” said Whittle. “With that you’d want to go in, change the name of the admin account, set a password on it, a strong password.”

He says use different passwords for every device and change passwords regularly, turn on the two-factor authentication, create a unique user ID instead of an email if possible, turn on the firewall, and keep devices updated.

“You never want to have your home wireless network open to the public,” said Whittle. “That’s like leaving your front door open at night, anybody can get in.”

He says bad people will always try to find ways to get into people’s accounts, so it’s essential to protect yourself.

Ring released the following statement:

Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.
Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords.
On background:
Due to the fact that many people use the same username and password for many different accounts, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. In this case, an external breach occurred, exposing the emails and passwords from another site that was also in use on the user’s Ring account.
This incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s overall security.
This incident is not due to compromised WiFi passwords.
Ring has investigated this incident and has taken appropriate actions to remove the bad actors from all affected accounts. All affected users have been contacted.

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