Hackers Have Developed Software To Break Into Ring Security Camera Accounts, And It’s Working
A Mississippi family had their Ring account hacked, allowing a man to speak to their eight-year-old daughter through the speaker.
- By Haley Samsel
- Dec 12, 2019
After a Mississippi family reported that a hacker was able to gain access to their Ring security camera, VICE News discovered that hackers have already created “dedicated software” for breaking into the devices.
Ashley LeMay, a parent living near Memphis, Tenn., told local news outlet WMC5 that she installed a Ring camera in a bedroom to keep an eye on their three young daughters. She and her husband could use Ring’s mobile app to see what was happening with their kids and use a speaker to talk through the camera.
But within four days, a hacker was able to break into their camera and view the children in their room. LeMay’s eight-year-old daughter noticed loud music blaring from their room and went to check it out. Video captured by the camera and shared with WMC5 shows the child asking “Who is that?” as shears banging coming from the Ring speaker.
A man’s voice replies: “I’m your best friend! I’m Santa Claus!” As the girl calls for her mom, the voice asks the girl: “Don’t you want to be my best friend?”
The hacker encouraged LeMay’s daughter to engage in “destructive behavior,” the news outlet said, before the girl’s father came into the room.
LeMay said that she had not implemented two-factor authentication for her Ring account, which would have added another layer of security protection. The family has also changed their WiFi settings so that their router is no longer visible to the public. She has since disconnected the camera and is working with Ring, which is owned by Amazon, to investigate what happened.
In the news report, LeMay also said she suspected that the hacker was someone who knew the family or someone who was close by and able to access their WiFi network.
The chilling video prompted VICE’s Motherboard to search crime forums for posts related to hacking Ring accounts. One thread on a hacking forum provided software, called a config file, to help other hackers quickly search through usernames, email addresses and passwords and attempt to use them to log into accounts.
Other threads offered to sell the software for low prices, noting a higher demand for the config since it might allow criminals to break into homes when families are not home or spy on the people inside.
The Motherboard report also notes that Ring does not currently require users to set up two-factor authentication, making it easier for hackers to find and take over accounts that have less protection.
A Ring spokesperson said in a statement that they are taking the issue of device security 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,” the spokesperson said.
The statement added: “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.”
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.