Ring smart cameras are remarkably popular. The lineup includes a variety of indoor and outdoor cameras as well as an industry-leading catalog of video doorbells. However, the cameras aren’t without their faults. A few years ago, a class action lawsuit was filed claiming that Ring hadn’t done enough to protect users from hackers — allowing them to gain unpermitted access to video feeds.
Digital Trends reached out to Ring about these old hacking incidents. Here’s what they had 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 [are] 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.”
Thankfully, Ring smart cameras are more secure today than ever before, with the company expanding its end-to-end encryption technology to improve your privacy. Still, nothing is ever completely safe from prying eyes and hackers. With that in mind, here are some tips to prevent your Ring smart cameras from being hacked.
Treat your passwords right
Make sure you have a secure password for your Ring account, as well as your Wi-Fi network. Ring said the hacker was able to gain access to the Ring account because the owners reused their passwords from other platforms. So, make sure you use a unique password for your account. Also, make sure you create passwords that are hard to crack, using 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. You should also update your passwords regularly to help prevent brute-force attacks. To avoid forgetting your passwords, use a password vault. Here’s our list of the best password managers.
Ring now has mandatory two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of protection. Ring also provides login notifications, which let you know if a new device logs into your account. But even with these extra security measures from the company, you still need to take charge of your own security and have the most secure account and network passwords.
Don’t share your 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 strong passwords and two-factor authentication, too.
Avoid sharing videos on social networks
Eventually, it will probably be tempting to share your videos with your followers on Facebook or other social platforms. Or you might want to alert your neighbors of suspicious behavior or show off some funny footage of an animal scrounging around in your trash bins. However, resist the temptation. Sharing your surveillance videos online gives hackers a way into your system. It’s also a good idea to eliminate old footage, as the more videos you have, the easier it is for hackers to target you.
Purchase a firewall and antivirus service
Some people find the technical aspects of security pretty overwhelming, but plenty of support exists, and learning about how to secure a Ring Camera might make you feel more confident. Purchasing a stand-alone firewall and antivirus service can prevent hackers from hacking your system and protect your network from other threats.
Keep the camera’s software up to date
Regularly updating your camera’s software ensures optimal security and performance. It’s crucial to stay on top of your Ring camera security upgrades. If you don’t update your system, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to hackers. As we mentioned at the start, Ring has made improvements like rolling out end-to-end encryption to a greater number of cams, so it’s important to always update so you take advantage of changes like this.
Opt-out of third-party data sharing
In 2020, Ring paused much of its third-party data sharing due to criticism, but that’s no guarantee you can avoid everything these days. However, you can also manually control this option. Head into the Ring app, go to the Menu, and choose the Control Center. Here, you can choose Third-Party Service Providers, then go to the Personalized Advertising section and ensure it is disabled. You may also want to head back and go to the Law Enforcement Privacy section, where you can prevent Ring from sharing your videos with law enforcement agencies as well.
Close privacy shutters as a physical back-up to digital security
Along with taking steps to improve your digital security, some Ring products now feature a built-in privacy shutter. These allow you to block the camera entirely — preventing anyone with unwanted access from viewing your live feeds. These shutters can only be activated in person, with no option to open or close them remotely. That means you can close the shutter for additional privacy, and even if your network has been hacked, the viewer won’t be able to see anything. For an example of how this works, check out the latest Ring Indoor Cam.