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

Whether you’re trying to be a good neighbor and warn those around you of suspicious activity, or you just want to share a funny incident, we’re all guilty of wanting to share our surveillance videos. But, doing so makes hackers’ lives easier by providing them with an extra outlet to gain insight into your login credentials and personal details. You should also delete old footage to prevent a backlog of footage that makes you more susceptible to getting hacked.

Purchase a firewall and antivirus service

If this whole topic sounds a little overwhelming, one of the best ways for a safer, easier approach to secure your Ring camera is to rely on a firewall and antivirus service to put in the work for you. This will protect your network and help to prevent hackers from gaining access to your Ring camera.

Keep the camera’s software up to date

Like with any operating system, your best bet for security and performance is to keep up with software updates. Your Ring camera will actually require these updates now and then, and many of the updates are security-related. Not completing these simple updates can leave your system more vulnerable, making it easier for hackers to get into. 

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