If Your Ring Doorbell Has Been Hacked? – Urgent Security Protocols


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If Your Ring Doorbell Has Been Hacked - Urgent Security Protocols

Ring Doorbells have emerged as a one-stop solution for enhancing home security, offering families peace of mind with their innovative electronic gadgets. However, like many modern devices, they are vulnerable to hacking. Various cases have shown that even systems with end-to-end encryption can have their devices and conversations compromised due to security breaches.

Understanding these vulnerabilities is crucial to effectively learn how it works and tell if your Ring camera has been hacked. Knowing the probable reasons behind these breaches is the first step in taking preventive measures to secure your home.

Overview of Ring Security Devices

Ring Security Devices.

Amazon’s acquisition of Ring marked its entry into the home security sector, transforming the use of smart cameras and video doorbells. These devices, controllable via a mobile app over Wi-Fi, enhance home security by monitoring every visitor, from family and pets to unexpected guests.

Ring’s indoor and outdoor cameras, equipped with motion sensors and two-way talk, offer comprehensive real-time security. However, the risk of these devices being hacked exists, with incidents reported in the news.

Recognizing signs of a breach, such as unusual account activity or odd device behavior, is essential. If a compromise is suspected, contacting Ring support promptly is crucial for securing the device and maintaining safety.

What is the Ring Security System?

Ring Security System.

The Ring security system has transformed home security by enabling remote door control through Wi-Fi and smartphone integration. It allows homeowners to view visitors and manage entry from anywhere.

With Ring cameras inside the home, users can monitor their living spaces, benefiting from features like microphones. Parents and pet owners particularly value this system for the ability to keep an eye on their loved ones remotely.

However, the advent of smart home technology also brings challenges, including reports of system compromises. Such incidents underscore the importance of vigilance and staying informed about potential security vulnerabilities to maintain the safety and security of our homes.

Can Ring Doorbell be Hacked?

Can Ring Doorbell be Hacked?

Despite the robust security of the Ring system, it’s not immune to issues. Headlines have occasionally surfaced about vulnerabilities that needed to be addressed and resolved. The doorbell, like many devices, faces a risk of being compromised. However, Ring has continuously worked to ensure these devices are protected.

With advanced encryption and regular updates, the chances of your Ring doorbell being hacked are significantly reduced, but not completely eliminated. It’s vital to stay informed about the latest security measures and updates to safeguard your home’s digital threshold.

Can Ring Cameras be Hacked?

When it comes to Ring cameras, a question often arises: can they be hacked? As a general rule of thumb, any device connected to the internet can potentially be an exploit target for a hacker.

While Ring has implemented numerous security measures, the reality is that these devices, when shared online, can attract cybercriminals. It’s crucial to stay updated on security protocols and practice safe sharing to minimize risks.

Can Someone Turn off Your Ring Camera or Doorbell?

Someone Turn off Your Ring Camera or Doorbell.

A pressing concern for Ring Doorbell owners is whether someone other than the administrator can deactivate the device.

In scenarios where a hacker gains access to your Wi-Fi network, it is indeed possible for them to disable the Ring device, essentially leaving your home without its digital eyes and ears. This vulnerability highlights the importance of securing your home network and regularly updating your security settings.

Real Incidents of Ring Doorbell Hacks

1. Evil Santa’s Mischievous Visit (2019):

In 2019, a Mississippi family faced a chilling incident of unauthorized intrusion through their Ring camera. A malicious intruder, eerily masquerading as Santa Claus, invaded their privacy by speaking to their unsuspecting 8-year-old girl who was playing in her room.

The sinister voice from the camera’s speaker shockingly instructed her to wreak havoc in her own space, starting with smashing the TV. This unsettling event serves as a grim reminder of the vulnerabilities present in smart home devices and the importance of securing them against such nefarious activities.

2. The Awakening Command (2019):

In a haunting episode in Atlanta, a woman was jolted awake in the early hours by a disembodied voice emanating from her hacked Ring camera.

The unseen intruder, claiming to have a visual on her, sent shivers down her spine by yelling, “Wake up!” This disturbing call not only invaded her privacy but also transcended the virtual realm, making her question the safety of her own home.

The violation of her personal space by this digital specter highlights the eerie reality of how technology, while meant for security, can become a conduit for unseen threats.

3. Racial Slurs and Bedroom Invasion:

The invasive nature of Ring doorbell hacks reached harrowing depths when cybercriminals targeted a couple in Florida, subjecting them to abhorrent racism and harassment. This couple endured significant trauma as racist comments invaded the sanctity of their bedroom through a compromised camera.

This prolonged violation was evidence that the perpetrator had been clandestinely observing their lives for days, turning their home, a place of safety, into a stage for bigotry.

Such incidents painfully illustrate the potential dangers lurking within our digitally connected world, where personal spaces are no longer shielded from the prying eyes of the unscrupulous.

How Can the Ring Doorbell be Hacked?

It’s essential to understand the various methods through which vulnerabilities can be exploited. This section outlines three key methods:

Method 1. Interception of Unencrypted Data:

Dojo, an IoT security firm, pointed out that data exchanged between the Ring doorbell and its app can be unencrypted, allowing hackers to intercept this data.

This vulnerability can lead to unauthorized access to view who enters or leaves your house, theft of Wi-Fi passwords, or deception through false video feeds. Amazon has addressed and fixed this issue in subsequent app updates.

Method 2. Exploitation of Network Vulnerabilities:

The case of Ashley LeMay, who experienced a hack allowing a stranger to communicate with her daughter via an indoor camera, underscores the risks.

These incidents often occur due to the lack of end-to-end encryption in the communication between the device and the home network, making it a prime target for cyberattacks. Hackers can gain access to both video and audio, exploiting the device for surveillance or intimidation.

Method 3. Company Response and Customer Blame:

The recurring incidents of hacking have sparked debates around Ring’s response to security breaches. Critics argue that Ring often blames customers for security lapses instead of addressing potential inherent flaws in their devices.

This stance raises questions about device security and the responsibilities of companies in protecting their users from cyber threats.

Recognizing the Signs of a Hack

  1. Odd Notifications: Unexpected motion alerts during unusual hours often serve as the first hint that something might be wrong with your security system.
  1. Unusual Sounds: Hearing strange noises or voices from your device should raise immediate red flags. These auditory anomalies indicate possible unauthorized access or manipulation of the system.
  1. Setting Changes: Finding your device settings altered without your knowledge is a clear sign of unauthorized access. Such modifications are a strong indication that your system’s security may have been compromised.
  1. Data Usage Spikes: An unexpected increase in data usage can be a critical indicator of a security compromise. Such spikes often prompt a thorough check for potential security breaches in your system.
  1. Camera Movement: When your Ring doorbell camera moves unexpectedly, it’s a clear indication that you should investigate for potential hacking or tampering.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you’ve suspected a hack of your Ring doorbell, the first step is to immediately change your account password. It’s crucial to check for any unauthorized users and remove them.

Resetting your device and contacting Ring support should follow as these are critical steps in regaining control and restoring your system’s security.

How to Prevent Ring Camera and Doorbell From Getting Hacked

Prevent Ring Camera and Doorbell From Getting Hacked.

To safeguard your home and family from potential dangers, actively secure your Ring cameras and doorbells. Don’t solely rely on companies; take control with strong security measures and regular monitoring.

1. Enhanced Wi-Fi Security: 

Safeguard your Ring devices by enhancing your Wi-Fi security. Create a separate guest network for these devices and use a strong password.

Customize your network settings, ensuring you don’t share your main Wi-Fi publicly and disable the SSID broadcast to make it less visible to potential hackers.

2. Robust Password Management: 

To enhance the security of your Ring devices, create strong and unique passwords for each device. Additionally, use two-factor authentication as an additional layer of protection.

This approach significantly reduces the chances of unauthorized access, ensuring your home security system remains secure.

3. Network Protection: 

Enhancing your home network’s security is crucial in preventing your Ring devices from being hacked. Implement a firewall and antivirus software to protect against strangers and identify malware-ridden files.

This setup stops you from landing on malicious websites, blocks trackers, and intrusive ads, thereby reducing the risk of your system being infected through a spoofed link or compromised file. A powerful cybersecurity program is a fundamental part of a robust home security strategy. That’s exactly what Hari Ravichandran, the CEO of Aura, stated in this interview for WSJ.

4. Physical Security of Devices: 

In addition to digital safety measures, it’s vital to mount your Ring devices securely to prevent them from being stolen or tampered with.

Ensuring physical security is a critical aspect of protecting your smart home devices from unauthorized access or damage.

5. Regular Software Updates: 

One key strategy in preventing hacks is to keep your Ring software consistently up-to-date. This includes updating both the device itself and the Ring app on your phone.

Updates often contain essential security patches, so it’s important to install them right away to protect against new vulnerabilities.

6. Privacy and Sharing: 

A crucial aspect of safeguarding your Ring device involves managing privacy and being cautious about sharing videos. Sharing on social networks can compromise your security and privacy.

Notably, in 2009, Ring was criticized for the way its Neighbors app used shared videos to provide tips on suspects. This controversy highlights the importance of thoughtful sharing to maintain privacy and security.

7. Managing Stored Footage: 

Proper management of old footage in your Ring account is essential to prevent a hacker from gaining access to historical data. Regularly review your camera footage, including both the live stream and older videos.

Deleting outdated or unnecessary information is a proactive step to minimize the risks of a breach, ensuring that your digital footprint is as secure as possible.

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How Can You Tell if Someone is Watching Your Ring Doorbell?

Noticeable signs include the Ring Camera’s infrared light turning on during the night or unexpected changes in the live feed. Strong passwords and video encryption are key to preventing unauthorized access.

How Do I Check For Unauthorized Users on My Ring Account?

To check for unauthorized users on your Ring account, navigate to the Control Center in the app. Here, you can review the list of devices and shared users. Look for any unknown names or devices that shouldn’t have access to your account.

Is My Ring Spying On Me?

Concerns about privacy and security have been raised with the FTC investigating if Ring employees had the ability to spy on customers. Incidents, where cameras in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms have captured sensitive videos of kids and adults, have been reported.

These cases highlight the risk from not just online attackers but also potential internal vulnerabilities. Hackers have also harassed, insulted, and propositioned individuals through hacked devices.

Should I Contact Ring Support if I Suspect a Hack?

Absolutely, contacting Ring support should be a priority if you suspect a hack. They can provide essential guidance and help in securing your device and investigating any potential breaches. Their support is crucial in addressing and resolving security concerns effectively.

Final Verdict:

While Ring doorbells and cameras offer advanced home security, users must remain vigilant against hacking risks. This guide underscores the importance of recognizing signs of a hack, regularly updating software, managing privacy settings, and taking immediate action if suspicious activity is detected.

By combining manufacturer security features with personal proactive measures, users can significantly enhance the safety and privacy of their Ring devices.


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