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How to keep yourself safe from Ring hackers

Dec 16, 2019, 12:42 PM | Updated: 12:42 pm
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FILE: The new law is focused on improving the federal government role in cybercrime. Stock photo.

Homeowners say it’s a troubling trend: Hackers gaining access to their private Ring security feeds and hijacking them.

Families in Mississippi, Florida, Kansas, Georgia and Texas all say they got their Ring security systems taken over by hackers.

Jake Norris and his family, from Wichita, Kansas, were some of those compromised.

“It’s creepy,” he told KAKE. “You’re still getting violated. We’re sitting here watching TV, hanging out as a family and someone’s using it like a reality TV show or something.”

A hacker gained access to one of his Ring cameras positioned inside their living room and started talking to them. He even sent them a pizza to prove that he knew where they lived.

Ashley Norris says that her family is still feeling the effects of the invasion of their privacy.

“Our daughter is still creeped out. She couldn’t fall asleep that night and I’ve slept with her every night since because she’s so scared.”

Passwords are the problem

123456, qwerty, password: the internet security firm SplashData says these are just a few of the most commonly used passwords out there.

In a written statement, Ring says the issue with their cameras most likely has to do with compromised user passwords.

“We take the security of our devices seriously,” they wrote in a statement sent to users over the weekend. “Recently we were made aware of an incident where malicious actors obtained some ring users’ account credentials from a separate external, non-Ring service and reused them to log in to some Ring accounts.”

How to keep your Ring devices safe from hackers

IT Specialist Earl Foote joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic Monday; he says that everything that’s connected to the internet has a chance to get hacked. Therefore, he adds, you should understand the risks involved.

Is it worth it?

“My first bit of advice, guys: it’s probably a little bit unorthodox for a technologist like myself and somebody who, you know, has made a career of pushing and implementing and selling technology. And that is, first of all, just consider if you really need or want the, you know, the device you’re going to install,” Foote said.

Foote says that with the decision to bring in any internet-connected device, you should ask yourself the question, ‘Am I willing to give up this information if it’s hacked?’

“The reality is,” he said, “that many of us now have [internet-connected] devices in our homes and dozens of potential ways that a hacker can get into our homes and into our private lives.”

Two-factor authentication

The next step, Foote says, is to enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

“Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is the ability for you to have multiple points of touch in order to access a device or an account. Rather than just going to an app or a website and put in your password, the two-factor authentication requires a secondary check to make sure that you physically have access to some method in order to verify your identity to get into an account or application.”

Get a password manager

Foote says he understands many of us just have so many passwords to keep track of, we’re overwhelmed. That’s why his last piece of advice is to install a password manager.

“When you get any device and plug it in, make sure that you change the default password and use a very complex password.”

Foote says that password managers can help you create long, random, complex passwords that are stored and encrypted in an online “vault.”

The internet tech reviewing website CNET ranked LastPass as the web’s best free password manager and 1Password as the best paid option.

The rest of the conversation.

You can hear the rest of the conversation as well as sound from inside the homes that were affected by these hackers on Dave and Dujanovic’s podcast below.

 

 

 

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How to keep yourself safe from Ring hackers