[WARNING] Hackers Using In-Home Security Systems to Spy on Children and Families
Do you have an in-home security system? Hackers could be watching you or your children right now.
TikTok Viral Ring Hack Video
Mother Fran Chelle (@franchelle0) uploaded an unsettling video of her 3-year-old claiming that a voice from the Ring camera talks to him at night. The video has gained over 15.2 million views as of this writing.
In this particular video, the child says that the camera talks to him at night. When he's questioned about what it says, the child responds:
'It’s saying… Want ice cream,' he said.
'Is it a girl, or a boy?' Fran asks.
'A boy,' their son replies.
This caused them to immediately unplug the camera. This isn't the first time that they've been alarmed at what their child said about the camera, as referenced in a previous video uploaded by Fran.
Ring reached out to us with an official statement and information about this case in particular. It reads as such:
We take customer privacy and security extremely seriously. We worked directly with this customer in February to investigate this matter and found no indication of unauthorized access or suspicious activity related to her Ring account or devices.
We were also given additional information regarding this case:
- We have not been made aware of any videos that show suspicious activity on this camera, and the customer confirmed that she had not seen or heard anything abnormal in her recorded events.
- During our conversation with the customer, she confirmed that all of the live-view recordings during the time period in question were activated by her husband or her.
- There were no logins to the account from devices other than the known customers’ devices, nor were there any deleted videos during the time period in question.
Not the First Time
This, unfortunately, isn't the first time that this has been brought to people's attention. If you simply search YouTube for "hacked Ring camera" it brings up a number of concerning videos of hackers talking to people via their Ring cameras. Some of them talk to the owners of the house, and some talk to their children. It's as creepy as you'd think.
In this one, a hacker talks to one of the children in the house. Thankfully, the child gave a fake name, and quickly unplugged the camera. However, the hacker then talks to him through a second Ring camera in the house.
In yet another video, a hacker taunts an 8-year-old girl by playing music, telling her that he's Santa Claus, and tries to give her encouragement to mess up her room and break her TV until the father comes in and ends the terror.
As if those aren't scary enough, in this next video, a hacker continuously asks hateful, racial questions about the couples son. The hacker also has access to their Ring alarm system, activating it a number of times.
Along with that, they noticed that while talking to the hacker, their son never appeared with them. So, how long was he watching, seeing the child, before making his presence known?
How to Keep Your Family Safe from Hacking
So, how are they hacking these cameras? With all of these stories, Ring has responded that their system has not been breached, but most likely, users are re-using passwords on multiple devices and accounts, and those passwords are being distributed by hackers from elsewhere. There is a class action lawsuit that says that isn't true, however, I was unable to find the outcome of the suit.
When Ring reached out to us, we were given this piece of information as well that should make you feel better about their product:
In addition to encrypting all videos in Ring’s cloud by default in transit and at rest, and requiring customers to have a second method of verification when logging into their accounts, Ring offers customers a wide range of privacy and security options to help them protect their personal and account information. Control Center allows users to manage important privacy and security settings including advanced encryption options, video sharing and storage, and linked accounts from one easy-to-use dashboard in the Ring app.
There are some other ways to keep you and your family safe from this happening, which are to use a unique password (especially for sensitive info and items like bank accounts and cameras), along with 2 factor authentication and a password manager like LastPass. Also, according to Digital Trends, purchase a firewall and antivirus service, keep cameras software up-to-date, opt out of third party sharing, or as one tech expert said, use a hard-wired camera system, as hard-wired systems can't be hacked by outside sources, unless they are in your home connected to your modem.