Being a Ring customer, there are some time things that I worry about, and one of those was if the doorbell could, in fact, be hacked. Well, I’ve done some research and would love to share it with you.
Can a Ring video doorbell be hacked? There are many instances that have been reported where people were able to access the video after passwords and information had been changed. Additionally, with an open connection, you can potentially risk being hacked as well.
Now, that answer above may be concerning, but don’t worry. There is more information below. This includes what Amazon has done or hasn’t, what people have reported, what you can do to avoid this, and what you can do to tell if you’ve been hacked.
The Elephant in the Room
Since Amazon had purchased the Ring Video Doorbell from Jamie, obviously people were interested and thought that this was a good thing, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to see who was at your door?
Well, unfortunately, if you’ve allowed others access to your Ring device and have changed the password and the information, those people still have access to your device. They are able to see who’s there and also to check the motions that go on.
If safety is something that makes you feel better about life, it can be startling or even violating to have someone who can see into your life. Although it’s not like a reality TV show, there’s still something off-putting.
This was found out in May 2018. Amazon stated that they were going to fix this problem as soon as they could, but currently, that problem is still occurring.
When you’re in your own home, being able to relax and feel safe is a priority. Before the statement that it was fixed, they claimed it had been taken care of three months prior.
When confronted with the fact that people who had previously been linked were still able to see and access the camera, Amazon said that the app had updated in January to kick off those who shouldn’t have access when the password was changed. That worked really well.
Amazon also said that those who own a Ring device should use the shared feature on the app, instead of giving out the information. Then they can ensure that they are completely in control of their security.
It should be noted that Ring isn’t the only company that has had to deal with people hacking into their system. This has just received more limelight than the others.
The Article That Started it All
Before this article came out, there wasn’t much concern about what was happening within the Ring security world. People were consistently using it and they were happy about it.
Well, this article was posted in 2016. This had started the speculation that there could be something going on. According to the Pen Test Partners post, they showed how easy it would be for someone to come up and hack into your Wi-Fi through your video doorbell.
They even gave a step by step demonstration and pointed out the things to look for when such a thing was attempted. Since then, Ring has been on the hot seat in regards to hacking.
The way that they are able to hack into the doorbell can even be done by mobile. They can simply put in a URL once they have connected to your Wi-Fi to be able to gain access to your passwords, and by doing this, they gain a way in, all merely by one simple connection.
Sharing With China
Another thing that was brought up about this was the fact that some information was being sent across the world to China. Why would that be? Soon, consumers started to notice this and began to share the information with others on the internet.
This concern was vocalized on a Reddit post:
“So recently installed a ring doorbell and found some interesting network traffic. At random intervals, it seems to be sending a UDP/1 packet to 188.8.131.52 (China). All other traffic goes to AWS. Anyone have any thoughts to iot devices calling back to China?”
A user claiming to be from Ring commented on this post, but only received backlash as he tried to explain that this was something that they were trying to work on because they didn’t understand themselves, and they would let them know when the software was updated.
Other posters talked about how they had already received the software update, and it still was sending pockets to China. The concern had risen, with the comments of the Ring employees, you can see that they are trying to help in the best way they can.
According to the Ring’s employee the reason that information is sent to China is simply that they can lose connection at the end of a live call or motion, and for some reason, that little piece of information was sent to China. Not only to China but to a search engine in China called Baidu.
Eventually, the Chief Technology Officer of Ring, Joshua Roth responded to this Reddit post as well:
“Thank you all for your patience. As always, Ring is committed to protecting the privacy and security of our neighbors. I have been monitoring the discussion here closely and understand there is confusion as to what is happening with the Ring Pro device. I would like to take this opportunity to further clarify where we are today.
- The security of our devices and protecting our customers’ information are our top priority. Since these posts were raised, we have spent many hours investigating these issues. At this time, it is our assessment this is not a security threat to our customers; we do acknowledge, though, that this architecture could have been better executed.
- As background, the data packet that is sent to the IP address in question represents 20ms of audio data. Although some have suggested this could be a vulnerability, we are confident it does not open up the Doorbell to any external threats. Any packets that would have been sent back to the originating IP address of the doorbell were immediately discarded and the socket itself completely shut down after the individual packet had been sent.
- What’s more, Ring does not use off-the-shelf cameras from overseas. We work for years, both with partners and internally, to design, manufacture and develop our products; we take extensive measures to build quality products that are secure.
- Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, Ring has a firmware update ready that will change the way the socket is closed.
- This firmware update has begun rolling out and will be active on all Ring Pro devices in the next few days.
We deeply value input from our neighbors and the broader community. We will provide additional updates as appropriate.
Chief Technology Officer at Ring”
Since this claim, there haven’t been any updates as to whether this has ceased or not. People have contacted Ring and even pointed them to the Reddit post so they could see for themselves that this was something that their consumers are concerned about.
“I See You.”
Since we talked about how people could still get into your Ring device even after you change your password, just wanted to share this from Jesus Echezarreta.
He lives in Miami and was convinced that his ex-boyfriend was spying on him. This was confirmed when his ex told him that he needed to walk the dog more.
Since the breakup, Jesus had changed the password, which according to Ring should have kicked out his ex and make it so there was no way that he could see what was going on in Jesus’ life.
When Ring found the information that someone was looking at the Rings and such, they sent Jesus a new device, which was supposed to make things better.
People were obviously a bit turned off by the fact that people they wouldn’t want in their life anymore could still see what they’re doing and with who.
Ring assured them that within an hour of changing your info on the app. It could not be done right away because that would cause everything to move slowly.
Amazon had intended to link the doorbell with its services so that way when receiving a package, an Amazon deliverer can come and enter your home, placing the package down.
That idea has caused contention, but adding to that with the hacking of the doorbell just doesn’t make things look very good.
How Do You Prevent Hacking?
The reason that this device is able to be hacked is that the waves that are used for the device coincide with those of Bluetooth and Wireless Wi-Fi, which when equipped with the right tools can be the perfect place for hackers to go.
But, we have some solutions that you can use if you’re concerned your may be hacked.
Be sure to look for a company that is well known and has good customer reviews. Another important thing that you can look for is companies that include encryption. This makes it a little harder for those that are trying to hack to get in.
If your app has customization options, know that with this feature, this can be dangerous. It creates a weak point at which hackers can enter and get a hold of your information.
Look for a device that regulates third-party access. Along with this, be sure to keep up to date with the software updates that the manufacturers provide. This will help as well.
Since the big thing from the article was that hackers could simply come and unscrew the doorbell from the wall and press the button on the back, invest in a device that you can’t move or detach without some sort of effort.
Have a strong password. This is fairly obvious, you don’t want to have your security devices’ password to be 1234. Use numbers, capitals, and symbols to ensure that your password and device will be protected.
Since your device is attached to the internet, there is a chance that it can be susceptible to malware. Be sure to have a firewall installed on your home network. If you’re wanting to use smart tech for your security, be sure that you take precautions and ensure the safety of your home.
Basically, if you’re going to turn your home into a smart home with smart tech for security, just make sure that you take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re not going to be hacked, or if they try, you can at least catch it.
How Can I Tell if My Device is Hacked?
If you’re already sure you’ve experienced the things above, and that it might be too late, we will go over the symptoms of how to tell, and explain them a little as well. This goes for other devices besides Ring as well.
- Check out strange noises from your camera
- See if your camera rotates abnormally
- Check to see if the security settings have been changed
- Find out if there is a blinking LED light
- Pay attention to illuminated LED
- Check the data flow of your security camera
We’ve all seen those scary movies when there’s another voice that comes through a baby monitor. There’s a similar thing when it comes to hacking into cameras, this is something that will make it fairly obvious that you’re hacked.
If your camera is rotating and following you wherever you go, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re hacked and they are watching you as you go about your business.
When going to check the security settings, if you’ve noticed some changes, then that’s something to take note of, hackers will like to change things around so they can customize it in a way to fit their needs.
A blinking LED light is for motion cameras, indoor cameras and such. It’s something that should be watched, in case the light starts blinking rapidly, it most likely means you’re hacked, so be on the lookout for that.
Last but not least, check the data flow. Just like the Reddit user was able to find out that some of their information was being sent to China, this is a way to see if your video is getting sent to someone or somewhere, and where that would be.
How Can They Hack Me?
There are two specific ways that hackers are able to get into your devices. They can either do it locally or remotely.
With hacking locally, the main thing that they are able to do is get into the Wi-Fi and figure out the password, even jamming the signal for a moment so they can ensure that they have gotten in. Lots of wireless cameras have been hacked this way.
If you have your device connected to Wi-Fi, be sure that you have it connected to a secured port. Using a WPN is something that can help. If you do this, it’s a lower chance that you’ll be hacked.
Remotely hacking is for those devices that stream information from the internet. When there is a data breach, they can make their way in. This is why security cameras can be hacked. Also, this can be done to wired security cameras–like those that are in the movies.
Is There Anything Else to Worry About?
With your security camera, you may be relieved that you’ve read this article, but be sure that you check those things that you have around you. If your child has an internet connected toy, be sure that you’ve gone through the steps that you need.
In 2017, it was responsible for over 1 million identities stolen. Also, Smart TVs were thought to have been listening to those that owned them. When you’re attaching something to the internet, just be sure that you have the necessary walls and locks put up.
These steps can be taken as precautions to anything that you may have in your home. If you have the Ring stand up cam, you can do this as well. Also with the Ring Floodlight. It’s really better to be safe than sorry.
We’ve been able to provide a generous amount of information through this post, but if your device has been hacked, you really should get in contact with the manufacturer and let them know your situation.
Can the Ring Doorbell be stolen? In the case that your Ring Doorbell is stolen, don’t fret. Ring will send you a doorbell free to replace the one that was taken from you. That’s one of the great things about the company, although you would never want to have to deal with your device being stolen.
Can I use a Ring Doorbell without Wi-Fi? With Ring, you aren’t able to use it without Wi-Fi, but there are some companies that provide a cellular plan for your camera, which runs on 4G or LTE. As long as you have a good WPN with your wireless connection, you should be safe from hackers and know that you’re protected in more than one way.
Has Nest ever been hacked? The answer to that question is yes. There have been a couple of instances where the camera was hacked in the baby’s room. The parents were woken up by the voice that was yelling through the monitor. Ring isn’t the only smart home safety tech to combat this.