How to prevent your Ring smart cameras from being hacked

Amazon Ring fixed a security vulnerability in its Ring doorbell last year that could have potentially allowed hackers access to homeowners’ networks through Wi-Fi passwords. In December 2019, Ring faced more security issues when a family from Tennessee claimed that a man hacked into their Amazon Ring security camera. The hacker reportedly used it to talk to an 8-year-old girl in her bedroom. Turns out the whole thing may not have been hacking, but just poor password use by the owner.

When Digital Trends reached out to Ring about the most recent incident, a representative said this: “Customer trust is important to us, and we take the security of our devices seriously. Our security team has investigated this incident and we have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.

“Recently, we were made aware of an incident where malicious actors obtained some Ring users’ account credentials (e.g., username and password) from a separate, external, non-Ring service and reused them to log in to some Ring accounts. Unfortunately, when the same username and password is reused on multiple services, it’s possible for bad actors to gain access to many accounts. Upon learning of the incident, we took appropriate actions to promptly block bad actors from known affected Ring accounts and affected users have been contacted.”

So how can you protect your Ring smart cameras? Here are some tips.

Treat your passwords right

Make sure you have a secure password for your Ring account, as well as your Wi-Fi network. Ring said the hacker was able to gain access to the Ring account because the owners reused their passwords from other platforms. So, make sure you use a unique password for your account. Also, make sure you create passwords that are hard to crack, using a mix of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols like exclamation points. Try using phrases instead of just one word to make the password extra strong, too. If you hate coming up with passwords, use a password generator. You should also update your passwords regularly to help prevent brute force attacks. To avoid forgetting your passwords, use a password vault. Here’s our list for the best password managers.

Ring now has mandatory two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of protection. Ring also provides login notifications, which let you know if a new device logins to your account. But, even with these extra security measures from the company, you still need to take charge of your own security, and have the most secure account and network passwords.

Don’t share your login information

There may be times when others need access to your Ring equipment. There’s a nifty way to allow this without sharing your login information and jeopardizing your security. Just add them as a shared user on the account. This gives the person, like your teen or roommate, access to view videos, use the two-way talk feature, and save videos, but they won’t have the master account’s login information.

To add a shared user, open the app and choose your device. Then go to Settings and tap on Shared Users and Add User. Next, enter the email address of the person you want to make a shared user. Choose the devices you want to share with the new user and then tap Send Invite. Once the person accepts the invite, the process is complete. They will be able to access the devices through their own app and login credentials. Make sure they’re using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, too, though.

Avoid sharing videos on social networks

Eventually, it will probably be tempting to share your videos with your followers on Facebook or other social platforms. Or you might want to alert your neighbors of suspicious behavior or show off some funny footage of an animal scrounging around in your trash bins. However, resist the temptation. Sharing your surveillance videos online gives hackers a way into your system. It’s also a good idea to eliminate old footage, as the more videos you have, the easier it is for hackers to target you.

Purchase a firewall and antivirus service

Some people find the technical aspects of security pretty overwhelming, but plenty of support exists, and learning about how to secure a Ring Camera might make you feel more confident. Purchasing a standalone firewall and antivirus service can prevent hackers from hacking your system and protect your network from other threats.

Keep the camera’s software up to date

Regularly updating your camera’s software ensures optimal security and performance. It’s crucial to stay on top of your Ring Camera security upgrades. If you don’t update your system, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to hackers.

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