How to prevent your Ring smart cameras from being hacked

Amazon Ring fixed a security vulnerability in its Ring doorbell last month 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.

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When Digital Trends reached out to Ring about the most recent incident, a representative had this to say: “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? It’s not hard. Here are some tips.

Enable two-factor authentication

In the case of the 8-year-old girl, the mom admitted that she didn’t enable two-factor authentication. This is a major step in keeping your Ring products safe. To set it up, go to your Ring app and tap the three-lined iconat the upper-left corner of your screen to open the menu. Then tap Account and Two-factor Authorization,  enter your password, and type in the mobile phone number where you want the two-factor authorization code sent. Next, enter the six-digit code that was texted to your phone into the app and then tap Continue to finish.

Now you have an extra layer of security between you and a hacker. When someone attempts to use your account on a new device, a code will be sent to your phone that needs to be entered into the app on the new device. If the hacker doesn’t have your phone, then they won’t be able to gain access to your account because they won’t have the code.

Treat your passwords right

Ring said the hacker was able to gain access to the Ring camera’s account because the owners reused their passwords. So make sure you use a unique password for your account. Also, make sure you create passwords that are hard to crack. Use 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. To prevent forgetting your passwords, use a password vault. Here’s our list for the best password managers.

Don’t share 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 good passwords and two-factor authentication, too, though.

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