Hackers are using two-way talk function to wake people up in the middle of the night and watch unsuspecting children
Fri 13 Dec 2019 18.45 GMTLast modified on Fri 13 Dec 2019 19.34 GMT
Hackers are tapping in to cameras intended for home security, talking to children through the devices and even dropping racist remarks, according to multiple news reports. The intended purpose of a two-way talk function on the devices is to allow parents to check in on their children. But hackers are using them to wake people up in the middle of the night, and watch unsuspecting children.
The concerns are about the Ring, an Amazon-owned home security device which had an estimated value of between $1.2bn and $1.8bn in 2018. Reports about hackers infiltrating the system and using it to interact with children and families have been dismissed by Ring as unrelated to the company’s cybersecurity.
Despite early investigations into how the device might be exploited, and a Motherbroard investigation which unearthed online forums where hackers discussed how to break into Ring accounts connected to the cameras, a Ring spokesperson told the Guardian: “We have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.”
In the statement given to the Guardian, a spokesperson for Ring said that customer trust was important to Ring, and that “we take the security of our devices seriously”, before adding that customers should be more cautious over their personal information:
“Consumers should always practice good password hygiene and we encourage Ring customers to change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication,” the statement said.
In November, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts criticized Ring for being “an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations”. Amazon has been accused of incentivizing police forces to use Ring products, for example, by donating 15 cameras to a police department in Lakeland, Florida. Ring has partnered with 405 police forces across the country, according to a Vice investigation.