Reports have begun flooding in of Amazon Ring camera systems being hacked over the past few days, with the hackers hurling racial abuse at owners, interacting with their children, and even demanding ransom payments.
ABC News reports that owners of Amazon Ring home security cameras have begun reporting incidents of their camera’s being hacked over recent days. Owners of the cameras in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Texas have all reported that hackers have accessed their cameras and used their speakers to subject them to racial abuse, encourage children to engage in destructive behavior, and even demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.
Ashley Lemay, a mother from Mississippi told ABC’s Good Morning America: “I can’t even put into words how violated I feel. It really is like my worst nightmare.” Lemay had installed a Ring camera in her daughter’s room to watch over her while she worked overnight shifts as a nurse, but four days after installing the camera her eight-year-old daughter Alyssa heard music and a banging noise coming from the room where the camera was installed.
Each time I've watched this video it's given me chills.
A Desoto County mother shared this Ring video with me. Four days after the camera was installed in her daughters' room she says someone hacked the camera & began talking to her 8-year-old daughter.
— Jessica Holley (@Jessica_Holley) December 10, 2019
Alyssa investigated and while searching for the source of the noise heard a voice telling her: “I’m Santa Claus, don’t you want to be my best friend?” The voice then taunted Alyssa and encouraged her to beak her TV and destroy her room before her father heard what was happening and shut the camera off. “I was even scared of my room for a few days. I’m still a little bit scared of it,” Alyssa told Good Morning America.
Amazon Ring issue a statement on the issue which reads:
Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.
Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services.
As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords.
A Georgia couple who requested that they not be identified heard the voice of a hacker in their bedroom via a Ring camera. “I see the blue light come on, and so I’m texting my boyfriend saying, you know, ‘Why are you watching? We’re laying down. We’re about to go to sleep.’ He’s like, ‘What are you talking about?'” the woman told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta. Moments later, the woman heard a voice from the Ring camera say: “I can see you in the bed! … Come on! Wake the f— up!” The woman stated: “I was terrified. I mean, I literally could not move my body.”
The Brown family of Cape Coral, Florida, were subject to racial abuse from their Ring camera. Footage from the camera on Sunday night shows a home alarm system being triggered followed by a voice from the camera shouting racial abuse. The hacker reportedly stated: “Is your kid a baboon, like the monkey?” amongst other racist terms. The family was forced to remove the batteries from the camera to shut it off.
A Texas woman named Tania Amador told ABC affiliate WFAA that she and her husband were asleep when their alarm went off. “I was asleep and our Ring alarm was going off like an intruder had entered our home. Then we heard a voice coming from our camera.” Footage from the camera shows a voice laughing before saying: “Ring support! Ring support!”
The voice continues to state: “We would like to notify you that your account has been terminated by a hacker,” before adding: “Pay this 50 bitcoin ransom or you will get terminated yourself.” The hacker then accessed Amador’s doorbell camera and stated over the camera speaker, “I’m outside your front door.”
Amador told WFAA: “Very scary to hear a threat shouted over the camera for a ransom. The fact that the person was watching and we don’t know for how long is even scarier.”