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A thief at your door: the Ring doorbell exploit explained

Nov 11, 2019 · 2 min read

A thief at your door: the Ring doorbell exploit explained

An unwanted stranger in your home is a really dreadful experience reminding us some of the horror classics. Have you imagined that a single gadget might cause it? Meet Ring security doorbell, a device both handy and risky. Learn about it and the Ring doorbell hack below.

What is a Ring security doorbell?

The Ring doorbell is a smart home security device owned by Amazon that allows you to control your doorway remotely. It is attached next to your front door and connects to your mobile device over WiFi. When someone tries to visit you, you can see the person through the installed camera and allow or deny entry to your house remotely.

Ring doorbell security issues

The device has long been subject to various security issues. While some were addressed and eventually resolved, the device still has a bad track record. Here are the major security concerns:

  • Researchers at Dojo, an internet of things security company, found out that an attacker can intercept your Ring bell by accessing the network it uses. The data travelling between the Ring device and its application is not encrypted. Thus, they can monitor who leaves and enters your house or show a video of someone you know so you’d unlock the door and let them in. Moreover, they can steal your Wi-Fi password. However, Amazon claimed that this issue was fixed in later versions of the app;
  • There was also an incident when one Reddit user reported that his Ring doorbell device sent packets of data to China. Users and the company have acknowledged the issue, and Ring promised to issue an update resolving this;
  • There were reports of users managing to access the app with their old passwords even after they changed them;
  • Ring allowed its Ukrainian team to view and annotate certain users’ videos.

How to secure your Ring doorbell

If you still want to use this device, be sure to take the following precautions:

  • Safeguard your Wi-Fi with a guest network and use a strong password. Also, make sure to have well-customized settings (e.g., do not share your Wi-FI publically and disable SSID broadcast);
  • Use a firewall and antivirus software;
  • Be sure to attach your device securely so that it can’t easily be stolen;
  • Always keep its software up-to-date;
  • Do not share Ring videos on social networking apps as it might pose a threat to your security and privacy. In 2009, Ring was criticized for using videos shared on its Neighbors social network to provide tips on suspects;
  • Do not keep old footage. Delete it so there would be less information available about you in case of a breach.

The Ring doorbell introduces a potential digital vulnerability to your physical world. If you plan to use it, then make sure you do so securely.

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Paul Black
Paul Black successVerified author

Paul is a technology and art enthusiast who is always eager to explore the most up-to-date issues in cybersec and internet freedom. He is always in search for new and unexplored angles to share with his readers.


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