Consumers Concerned About Ring Surveillance Camera Hacks

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about hackers tapping in to Ring cameras intended for home security. Multiple news reports have emerged claiming that hackers have compromised the devices for all sorts of nefarious purposes, including waking people up in the middle of the night, watching unsuspecting children, and even dropping racist remarks. Ring, an Amazon-owned home security developer, has dismissed the attacks as being unrelated to the company’s cybersecurity.

At least five families in different U.S. states have reported that hackers have spoken to them through the devices. The intended purpose of the two-way talk function on the devices is to allow parents to check in on their children. Unfortunately, hackers are also using them to talk to children, to the alarm and despair of their parents.

A Nebraska family got a scare when a hacker managed to gain access to their Ring security system and speak to their young daughter. Adam Krcilek, who had the Amazon Ring camera in his kitchen, shared a video where a voice can be heard speaking to his daughter after he momentarily leaves the room. The voice says, “What are you watching? Hey, what show is that? I’ve seen that show before. What season are you on?”

When Krcilek reenters the kitchen and opens the fridge, the voice asks, “What are you eating?” Krcilek approaches the camera, asking, “Who is this?” before turning the camera off. Krcilek said that he disabled the camera shortly afterwards. He had installed the camera six months ago.

Another video recently emerged of a hacker speaking an eight-year-old girl through the Ring security camera in her bedroom. In the video, the hacker claims to be Santa Claus and encourages the girl to smash her TV. According to mother Ashley LeMay, the Tennessee family only had the camera in the girl’s room for four days before someone found a way to hack it.

Reports about hackers infiltrating the system have been dismissed by Ring. A Ring spokesperson commented, “We have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network,” and blamed the breaches on the families’ own lax security. However, a recent Motherboard investigation found online forums where hackers discussed how to break into the Ring accounts connected to the cameras.