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Ring hacked: Doorbell and camera security issues

Imagine your kids playing with the dog when suddenly a voice starts speaking to them from your pet camera. Or a stranger walks into your house instead of the friend you just saw with your doorbell camera. These are real stories that happened to ordinary people because of hacked Ring devices. Discover how Ring cameras and doorbells can get hacked and what security measures you should take.

Ring hacked: Doorbell and camera security issues

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What are Ring security devices?

Ring is an Amazon-owned home security company that offers smart security cameras and video doorbells. The Ring doorbell camera allows you to control your house’s front door remotely. It’s mounted next to your front door and connected to your mobile device via Wi-Fi. When someone comes to your house, you can see the person through the camera and let them in, even though you’re not home. You can remotely control the device and even speak through it using the Ring app.

The company also offers indoor and outdoor smart cameras that allow you to monitor your home while you are away, check on your kids, or keep an eye on your pets. The cameras are equipped with motion sensors and a two-way talk feature, allowing you to talk to someone in real-time. Ring security devices are also compatible with other smart home gadgets from Amazon, including its household robot Astro.

Can Ring devices be hacked?

Ring system security issues have often made headlines. While some of these issues have been addressed and eventually resolved, Ring devices can still be hacked. You should always apply a general rule of thumb when it comes to device security: If it can connect to the internet, it can be hacked.

For quite a while, Ring devices weren’t protected with encryption. However, in September 2022, Ring finally rolled out end-to-end encryption for all their devices, earning back their users’ trust. Regardless, hackers still find ways to take advantage of Ring doorbells and cameras and don’t hesitate to share their exploits with other cybercriminals online.

How does a Ring get hacked?

Malicious actors often try to intercept your Ring doorbell or camera by accessing the network you use. They are able to do that if you set a weak password to your network, connect to Ring devices through public Wi-Fi, or if your home network or devices’ software has unpatched vulnerabilities. Once hackers intercept your connection, they can take over your camera and doorbell and use them for all sorts of malicious purposes. For instance, they can spy on you and your family, inspect who and when enters and leaves your house, or speak to your children through the Ring’s devices. Hackers can even forge footage of people you know, showing them standing in front of your door, to trick you into letting a stranger into your house.

However, users are not entirely blameless for having their Ring devices hacked. People tend to use the same credentials for numerous accounts, Ring included. In case malicious actors hack one of your accounts that matches your Ring system’s credentials, they may easily hijack all your smart home devices.

Since the first Ring device hacks, Amazon has implemented additional security measures to better secure their users and the devices they use. As mentioned earlier, the company has implemented end-to-end encryption, which you can choose to use whenever you connect to your Ring devices. Amazon has also applied additional security protocols that inform you about logins from unfamiliar IP addresses and make viewing your account’s login history possible.

How to turn off the Ring doorbell and how to disable the Ring camera

Ring cameras are built into a doorbell and use motion sensors. You can temporarily disable notifications and motion recording by turning off the Ring doorbell motion sensitivity and alerts. After that, you need to turn off the motion control record to deactivate it. Below, find detailed instructions on how to do that.

Step 1: Turn off Ring doorbell motion sensitivity

  1. Open the Ring app, select the Ring device, and click “Motion settings.”
  2. You’ll see a slider at the top of your screen. Slide it all the way to the left to make the device as unresponsive as possible.

Step 2: Turn off Ring motion alerts

  1. Select the Ring device on your Ring app. Click “Motion settings” and then “Motion schedule.”
  2. Specify the time and date you want motion alerts to stop and save the changes.
  3. You won’t receive any notifications if motion is sensed at your door. At this point, you can still review any motion caught later on, even though you’ve disabled notifications.

Step 3: Turn off the Ring motion record

  1. Select the Ring device on your Ring app. Click “Motion record” and turn it off.

How to prevent your Ring camera and doorbell from getting hacked

Regardless of the advanced security features Amazon implemented lately, Ring devices are not immune to cyber threats. You should always remain alert of the possible risks and consider using additional security tools to reinforce your smart home’s digital defenses. Below, find the most helpful and easily implemented tips for enhancing your smart home security:

  • Safeguard your Wi-Fi with a guest Wi-Fi network. Guest Wi-Fi is a separate network that can be secured with a password that is different from the one set on your main network. This way, you can better isolate your internal network, which usually holds sensitive data. You should also make sure you have well-customized settings (e.g., do not publicly share your Wi-Fi and disable SSID broadcast).
  • Create strong passwords for your devices. A password acts as a gatekeeper saving your devices from unauthorized interceptions – that’s why you should make it as strong as possible. A strong password typically consists of at least eight characters and includes upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. You should also consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your network with two security prompts.
  • Use a firewall and antivirus software to protect your home network from strangers. Also, try NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature. It helps you identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.
  • Always keep your Ring software up-to-date. This includes both the device software and the Ring app on your phone. Updates come with essential security patches, so it’s important you install them right away.
  • Do not keep old footage. If a hacker logs into your Ring account, they can access both the camera’s live stream and older videos. Deleting old footage will ensure there’s less information about you in case of a breach.
  • Secure your home network with a VPN. Some VPN providers offer an option against Internet of Things attacks that target your smart home devices – a VPN on your router. It helps to secure your entire network with a VPN, which encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address. A VPN helps enhance the security of your home cameras and smart doorbells, making your smart home devices more resilient to cyber intrusions.
  • Use NordVPN’s Meshnet traffic routing feature. Meshnet’s traffic routing allows users to access a network remotely, meaning any device on a host’s LAN, including Ring doorbells, can be accessed from afar. When a user connects to their home network remotely via Meshnet, the connection is established using NordLynx technology, guaranteeing fast and safe contact between devices.

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