Ring cameras across the United States are being hacked, parents are saying. The indoor Ring camera functions through an app that allows people to talk through their cameras from different rooms in a house.
The company began through doorbell cameras which allowed people to check who was coming to their door without answering it. Amazon paid $839 million to acquire Ring in February 2018. The Ring doorbell camera has also been subjected to hacking reports. Reports said that hackers had been able to access users Wi-Fi passwords through the doorbell camera.
In December 2019, parents across the country told various horror stories about their Ring security cameras being hacked.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Texas Family Says a Hacker Demanded they Pay a Ransom Via BitCoin or They Would Be ‘Terminated’
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A family from Grand Prairie, Texas, told WFAA on December 11 that someone hacked their system and told the family to pay a ransom or they would “get terminated.”
Tania Amador described the incident to the ABC-affiliate, “I was asleep and our Ring alarm was going off like an intruder had entered our home. Then we heard a voice coming from our camera.” Amador said that she heard laughing coming from the camera followed by, “We would like to notify you that your account has been terminated by a hacker. Pay this 50 bitcoin ransom or you will get terminated yourself.” Amador said that the hackers then gained control of the family’s doorbell camera. The hacker’s voice said, “I’m outside your front door.” Amador said she and her boyfriend pay a $100 annual fee to Ring to monitor their home. After the scare, she said her boyfriend simply removed the batteries from the cameras.
2. A Hacker Tormented a Family in Tennessee By Asking Their Children, ‘Do You Want to Be My Best Friend?’
WMC5 in Tennessee reports that a family in DeSoto County, Mississippi, had installed a Ring camera in the bedroom of their three daughters.
New security warning for in-home smart cameras l ABC NewsA family in Georgia warns others after a stranger hacked into their Ring home security system and started talking to their 8-year-old daughter. READ MORE: abcn.ws/2rvJ8sX Multiple U.S. families have reported incidents of Ring camera systems being hacked in recent days, raising questions as to whether the systems are allowing hackers access to people's homes,…2019-12-12T14:48:26Z
Ashley LeMay said that the family had the camera for four days before they started hearing voices. LeMay told WMC5, “I did a lot of research on these before I got them. You know, I really felt like it was safe.” A video broadcast by the station from the family’s Ring camera shows a hacker playing the song, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” A hacker can then be heard saying, “It’s Santa. It’s your best friend… Don’t you want to be my best friend?” WCM5 reports that the hacker tried to get the children to engage in destructive behavior before their father ripped the batteries out.
3. A Racist Hacker Has Targeted a Family in Florida
WBBH-TV in Florida reports that family complained that a hacker had been shouting racial slurs over the family’s Ring camera. A hacker could be heard saying, “Is your kid a baboon, like the monkey?” The family says that the hacker continued on a racist diatribe for nearly three minutes. During that time, the family’s son was never visible. This led the family to ascertain that the hacker had been spying on them for a few days.
The family then ripped the batteries out of the camera. Josefine Brown told the station, “I was scared… I was scared. I didn’t know who that is, how long he’d been watching us and I’m still scared now because I don’t have any answers.” The hacker tried to get the family to go to a website while saying, “I will leave you and your family alone, or I could do this.” Referring to the content of the website.
Ring device in family’s bedroom hacked by strangerA couple in Atlanta heard a strange voice coming from the bedroom camera after someone had hacked into their device possibly using a stolen password. WATCH THE FULL EPISODES OF 'WORLD NEWS TONIGHT': bit.ly/38vkeu1 WATCH OTHER FULL EPISODES OF WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: abc.go.com/shows/world-news-tonight WATCH WORLD NEWS TONIGHT ON HULU: hulu.tv/33iKepm #WorldNewsTonight #DavidMuir #RingCamera2019-12-12T01:34:49Z
In Georgia, a woman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that someone tapped into the Ring camera that she had bought to look after her new puppy. The woman said she heard someone talking to her dogs saying, “Wake up!… Hello, doggy doggy! Come here, doggy.” Ther person then got angry saying, “I can see you in the bed! C’mon! Wake the (expletive) up.”
The woman told the newspaper, “I was terrified. I literally could not move my body.” The woman added that after looking into her account, she saw that it had been compromised on three different occasions.
Hackers tapping into Ring surveillance cameras: why these products are easy targetsRing surveillance camera owners should be on alert for hackers tapping into their devices.2019-12-12T04:24:35Z
In Sarpy County in Nebraska, a man told WOWT that he was helping his daughter to get ready for school in their kitchen, where their Ring sits. The man, Adam Krcilek, said that a voice began asking his daughter, “What are you watching? Hey, What show is that? I’ve seen that show before. What episode are you on.” Krcilek said that the voice continued to ask questions until Krcilek unplugged the unit.
4. Ring Has Advised Users to Regularly Change Their Passwords
A Ring security camera system is displayed at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, Washington on September 25, 2019.
Ring has said about the incidents, “During an investigation by our security team, we identified that the email address and password of one of your external accounts were exposed in a data breach. The incident we emailed you about 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.”
Ring recommends that customers use a two-step authenticating method. The LeMay family in Mississippi said that they did not have the two-step authentication set up. The company also says that users should use the “add Shared Users” function rather than sharing their information with others, as well as recommending that users regularly change their passwords.
The company maintains that the hackings are a result of individual accounts being compromised, not the security network as a whole. Tania Amador told WFAA that she doesn’t buy the company’s excuse saying that she uses a specific 21-character password for her account that isn’t used for anything else.
Amador said, “I felt betrayed by our security company. I feel like we were treated like another dollar and that we didn’t matter.” Amador and her boyfriend have filed a police report and are seeking to retrieve all of their personal data that Ring has collected.
According to Motherboard, there is are “several posts on different crime forums where hackers discuss creating tools for breaking into the Ring accounts.” The website describes one thread being called, “Ring Video Doorbell Config.” The thread mentions a test that can be done in a few minutes to see if the Ring account has a username and password set up.
In October 2019, more than 30 civil rights organizations published a letter asking for lawmakers to end their partnership with Ring. Ring has a partnership with 537 different law enforcement agencies. Campaigners have stressed the chances that the footage could be misused by law enforcement.
Vice had previously reported that racism and racial profiling are common on Ring’s Neighbors app, which allows users to share information and videos.
Ring has denied the service threatens civil rights. The company told Vox in a statement, “Ring’s mission is to help make neighborhoods safer. We work towards this mission in a number of ways, including providing a free tool that can help build stronger relationships between communities and their local law enforcement agencies. We have taken care to design these features in a way that keeps users in control and protects their privacy.”
5. There Are Allegations That Ring Cameras Hacking Is a Matter of National Security
Privacy concerns over Ring doorbell camerasThe popular Ring doorbell cameras are raising privacy concerns. CNET News reporter Alfred Ng joined CBSN AM with details on the "Neighborhood Watch" program.2019-08-29T15:16:39Z
The Intercept reported in December 2019 that Ring engineers had access to users’ cameras. Ring has denied those allegations. The engineers were based in Ukraine. The Intercept report said that engineers had access to user’s videos which were in an easily accessible folder.
That revelation prompted a group of U.S. Senators signed a letter demanding answers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos regarding the app and national security.
The letter read in part, “If hackers or foreign agents were to gain access to this data… it would not only threaten the privacy and safety of the impacted Americans; it could also threaten U.S. national security.”
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This is possible because the data traveling between the Ring device and its application is not encrypted. As a result, anyone with the know-how can easily hack your Ring device, and spy on you and whoever enters or leaves your house. They can even steal your Wi-Fi password.Can you tell if your Ring camera is hacked? ›
In a physical sense, the only real way to check if a camera is peering at you is to look for the light on the device. Robert Baptiste, a security researcher who has analyzed Amazon-owned Ring in the wake of recent intrusions, told Newsweek there is little way of knowing if a camera is actively hacked.How do hackers access Ring cameras? ›
Hackers most commonly gain access to ring cameras when passwords are cracked or when they have your email and password from another online account that has been compromised. If someone gains access to your Ring account, they may get access to your personal info and to your camera's features.How do you know if someone is watching Ring camera? ›
Can you tell if someone is watching you on Ring? If you see the infrared light turn on at night while the security camera is in Disarm Mode, someone else may be viewing your live feed. Change your router's password and ensure that video encryption is enabled on your Ring Camera.Can a Ring camera see through a screen door? ›
Peephole Cam is not recommended for doors with a glass storm door, metal or screen door in front of them. Doors that close in front of Peephole Cam, like screens and storm doors will have an impact on Peephole Cam's functionality. Glass doors cause reflections back into the camera, obstructing its view.Can Ring see inside your house? ›
Your Ring footage isn't private. It's in the cloud. That means that you are not the only one with access to your footage. Think about all of the personal events cameras inside and outside of your home will capture.Do Ring cameras get hacked a lot? ›
Unfortunately, Ring devices have several cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as a lack of encryption and absence of extra security protocols. Cybercriminals can use those issues to hack a Ring doorbell or camera. In fact, there were dozens of incidents when someone gained unauthorized access to Ring gadgets.How do I stop my Ring camera from detecting me? ›
- Open your Ring app.
- Tap the three lines on top left corner of your dashboard.
- Tap Devices.
- Tap the device you want to adjust.
- On the device dashboard, toggle the Motion Detection slider to off.
Only the owner of a Ring device can deactivate it. You won't be able to control or change any of the device settings after your device is deactivated. Your videos are stored in the cloud only with a Ring Protect Plan, and the storage time may vary based on your Video Storage Time settings.What is camera swatting? ›
Two U.S. men have been charged with hacking into the Ring home security cameras of a dozen random people and then “swatting” them — falsely reporting a violent incident at the target's address to trick local police into responding with force.
WiFi jammers can cost less than $10 and they can be used to stop your Ring Doorbell communicating wirelessly to your internet router, stopping any video capture (potentially of burglars) from being sent to Ring for you to view.What color is Ring when someone is watching? ›
The normally white LED ring around the button turns blue indicating that the camera is active AND someone is watching it. I would really prefer people not know if I am looking at them or not.How do you know if someone is watching you in your house? ›
- Electrical fixture wall plates are slightly out of place. ...
- Check your vinyl baseboard – where the floor and wall meet. ...
- Look for discoloration on ceilings and walls. ...
- A familiar item or sign in your home or office simply looks off. ...
- You notice white debris close to a wall.
How far out does motion detection go? The motion detection on powered Ring devices can detect motion up to 30 feet away from the camera. How do I temporarily disable Motion completely?Can a Ring camera hear inside the house? ›
A Ring doorbell that's 100% battery powered will be audible outside of your home, but you will not hear a chime inside.Can Ring camera hear conversations? ›
Can a Ring Doorbell hear conversations? Yes, it can but only to a certain distance. Some Ring Doorbells can capture audio up to 3 feet.Can my neighbors Ring camera see into my house? ›
As long as their security cameras are not recording private information, there is nothing stopping them from recording your property in their camera's field of view. Most likely, your neighbor's security camera isn't able to see anything that a pedestrian walking down your street wouldn't be able to see.Can my neighbors Ring camera hear me? ›
Ring cameras, especially the Video Doorbell cameras, are designed so that the conversations held within close proximity of the cameras and their microphones, such as with delivery personnel or other visitors, are heard clearly. This facilitates communication between the Ring user and the visitor.Does Ring have a listening device? ›
The Listener2 itself is not a smoke or a CO alarm. It's a listening device that works in tandem with a smoke/CO alarm. The listener is mounted next to the alarm and listens for the sound of an alarm siren, at which point it instructs the Ring Alarm system to inform you that there's an alert at your home.Can Ring see from the side? ›
Seeing the world two ways
The motion sensors in your Ring Video Doorbell are designed to detect motion up to 180 degrees horizontally and from five to 30 feet outward from the fixture. They're also more sensitive to horizontal movement across the detection area than vertical.
The most serious security problem occurs during the Ring doorbell's first configuration with your local Wi-Fi network. Because the Ring doorbell and the application interact via HTTP rather than HTTPS, hackers may be able to intercept the data, putting your device in danger.Does the blue light on Ring camera mean someone is watching? ›
You're correct that the blue light will turn on when motion is detected or when a Live View is activated. Additionally, you may see the blue light come on when Snapshots are taken using the Snapshot Capture feature.What security cameras Cannot be hacked? ›
- IP Cameras. The most common type is the IP camera, which uses an internet connection to transmit data. ...
- Security Cameras with Biometrics. Finally, there are security cameras that use biometrics to identify people. ...
- ADT. ...
- Ring Alarm.
Download a Smartphone App
Some of the best apps for detecting hidden cameras and microphones include Hidden Camera Detector Free for Android and Hidden Spy Camera Detector for Apple. Most apps scan the area using an infrared scanner and/or visible light emitters.
Turn off all of your electrical appliances. Then walk into each room of your home, standing completely still. If you hear a soft buzzing or beeping noise, you may be able to pinpoint the location of the listening device.How do you know if someone is looking at you through your phone? ›
- Background App Activity. ...
- Odd Camera Behavior. ...
- Strange Camera Light Behavior. ...
- Unexpected Screen Behavior. ...
- Photos, Videos, or Audio Files You Didn't Create. ...
- Higher Data Usage. ...
- Your Location Is Being Accessed. ...
- Poor Video Call Performance.
What Happens To Your Ring Doorbells and Cameras When The Wi-Fi Is Off? Essentially – nothing! Without access to the internet in some form or fashion, Ring Doorbells and Cameras cannot detect nor record motion. Your Ring doorbell may still ring – but it will only be heard outside from the actual device.What is Ring camera away mode? ›
Away Mode: Select Away Mode to fully secure your house when you leave. You can set all of your cameras, both inside and out, to record your home in this mode. You can decide whether or not each of your cameras or doorbells detects motion.Can I block my neighbors Ring camera? ›
How do you disable Neighbors? To disable Neighbors, visit the Control Center from the Ring app or at Ring.com and toggle off Neighbors. This will disable the Neighbors feed and notifications.Can someone else access my Ring? ›
Weak passwords: The weaker a password is, the easier it is for a hacker to break it and gain access to your device and network. Ring doorbells with weak default passwords such as “123456” or “000000” are the first to fall victim to hackers.
ALPHV, a prolific group of hackers who extort companies with ransomware and leak their stolen data, said earlier this week that it had breached security camera maker Ring and threatened to dump the company's data online if it doesn't pay.Can people hack into cameras? ›
Any device connected to the internet can be hacked, and that includes home security cameras. Wired cameras are less vulnerable than Wi-Fi cameras, and those with local storage are less vulnerable than cameras that store video on a cloud-based server. However, all cameras can be hacked.Can I store Ring video locally? ›
Ring Edge lets you store and process videos captured on your Ring device within your local system rather than in the cloud (Ring Protect Pro subscription required, sold separately).What triggers a Ring camera? ›
They use passive infrared (PIR) sensors to detect motion. By adjusting the sensitivity of your motion sensors, you can receive the alerts you care about the most. Adjustable motion sensors identify visitors based on a change in temperature. They then send a signal to your Ring device.What can damage a Ring camera? ›
Ring Devices and Heat
While Ring devices are engineered to work in a variety of weather conditions, extreme heat conditions and exposure to direct sunlight can cause overheating and damage the internal components of your Ring device.
In the Ring app, tap Menu, then tap Set Up a Device, then tap Security Devices, then tap Sirens, and tap Ring Alarm Outdoor Siren.Can someone else access to Ring camera? ›
If Ring cameras, doorbells, and Ring Alarm are present at a Location, all Shared Users can access all the cameras and doorbells there by default. This is, however, at the Owner's discretion. An Owner can limit any Shared or Guest User's access to cameras and doorbells at their Location.Can someone interfere with Ring camera? ›
While mesh networks are very strong and reliable, it's still possible for electronic devices to interfere with their signal. Imagine trying to hold a conversation with someone in the front row of a concert. The louder the environment around you the harder it is to hear the person you are conversing with.How easy is it to hack into security cameras? ›
To access a camera locally, a hacker needs to be in range of the wireless network the camera is connected to. There, they would need to obtain access to the wireless network using a number of methods, such as guessing the security passphrase with brute force or spoofing the wireless network and jamming the actual one.Can my Neighbors Ring camera see into my house? ›
As long as their security cameras are not recording private information, there is nothing stopping them from recording your property in their camera's field of view. Most likely, your neighbor's security camera isn't able to see anything that a pedestrian walking down your street wouldn't be able to see.
Can a Ring Doorbell hear conversations? Yes, it can but only to a certain distance. Some Ring Doorbells can capture audio up to 3 feet.What does 2 red lights on Ring camera mean? ›
They're for night vision. It's infrared lights.What is a camera jammer device? ›
The Camera Jammer. The Camera Jammer (also known as a HERF Generator, or Directional EMP) is a hand-held device that emits microwave pulses that disprupt the characteristic signals used in the microcircuitry of serveillance cameras. Advertisement.Can someone jam my security camera? ›
"Wireless signals are easy to jam or block." Those crooks can use this like a WiFi jamming device, or a deauther, which can be the size of an Apple Watch. A deauther will overwhelm a WiFi system, forcing the WiFi camera to stop recording if you stand close enough.What security camera is hardest to hack? ›
If you are looking for a security camera, it is important to choose one that uses an internet connection, is a CCTV camera, or uses biometrics. These cameras cannot be easily hacked and will provide you with the security you need.Can a camera connected to WIFI be hacked? ›
Any device connected to the internet can be hacked, and that includes home security cameras. Wired cameras are less vulnerable than Wi-Fi cameras, and those with local storage are less vulnerable than cameras that store video on a cloud-based server. However, all cameras can be hacked.What can hackers do with security cameras? ›
They then attempt to access them by guessing an admin password. If successful, hackers can view video footage and even change the settings of your camera. This could leave you exposed to intruders. Another way hackers can access your cameras is through backdoor exploits.