RING cameras hacked in the US – what can UK users do to avoid this?

Dec 29, 2019 | CCTV, Home Security

Frightening reports are coming in from America about families who have had their Ring security cameras hacked. And about an increase in desire to want to hack such cameras!

According to Motherboard hackers have now made dedicated software specifically to gain access to Ring security cameras.

There are only two reasons why someone would want to purchase software to access homeowners’ security cameras and they are both bad:

  1. Potential burglary – someone is checking out the vulnerable points of your home, your behaviours and whether you have stuff that is worth stealing.
  2. Potential criminal behaviour of some other type – harrassment, predatory.

In the incident in the article, the camera hacked was in the bedroom of three young girls. The parents had placed the device there to keep an eye on them. But, unfortunately, their weak password also allowed someone else to spy on their daughters’ activities too.

Several things to consider here:

  • Is a cheap DIY camera a good idea?
  • Are you using a strong password?
  • Have you set up two-factor authentication?
  • Practise good security hygiene
  • Should you place cameras in your children’s bedrooms at all?

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Is a cheap DIY security camera a good idea?

I guess it depends what you want to use it for. And if you have a tiny security budget, it’s better than nothing. But not if you don’t take responsibility for potential security issues and combine it with a strong password and two-factor authentication.

Cybersecurity experts told Business Insider there are straightforward steps Ring owners can take to secure their devices from similar attacks. Most intrusions aren’t due to vulnerabilities in the firmware but how the devices have been set up

Are you using a strong password?

You would be amazed the number of people who leave their security devices with the factory code still in place. You would be amazed at the number of people who use Password as their password. Or 123456. Take responsibility to think up a strong password – and use a different strong password for each of your devices. And change it regularly!!!
If you have trouble remembering a lot of different passwords, there are lots of keyword storing tools. And, if in doubt, write them down on a piece of paper and keep them in a safe place.

Have you set up two-factor authentication?

The Ring website specifically advises that you set up two-factor security authentication. This means a security code will be sent to your specified mobile device. That code is then entered to allow you to access your system. It is recommended that anyone who has access to your account should have their own two-factor authentication. This avoids the risk of your log in being exposed to too many people. It’s a bit of a pain but it does provide an extra layer of protection.

Practice good security hygiene

  • Make sure your Ring software is up to date
  • Regularly delete your Ring security footage
  • Don’t share your Ring footage on any social networks
  • Ensure that your external Ring cameras cannot be stolen (and used to infiltrate your internal network)

Should you place cameras in your children’s bedrooms at all?

This is going to come down to a personal choice. I guess you need to consider why you would need a camera. Some baby monitors have cameras as well as audio to avoid having to go into the room to see if your baby is breathing/lying in a dangerous position. But there have been stories on the internet of these being hacked as well. The mother in this case used the camera because her daughter was prone to seizures.

The problem with all technology is that most users don’t even think about the potential for it to be used for harm rather than good. And the more ‘connected’ we are, the greater the potential for bad people to be able to do bad things.

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