Expert: Home security camera cyber attacks can be avoided with a strong password

US & World

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Are you thinking of purchasing a home security camera?

Maybe you want one to keep an eye on your children from the other room, or your home while you’re away.

With an easy setup, home security cameras are becoming more and more popular. But if they aren’t set up securely, you may be making your family vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Only four days after her parents installed a Ring camera in her room, an 8-year-old Mississippi girl heard a man’s voice coming from the camera’s speaker.

The man said, “I’m Santa Claus, don’t you want to be my best friend?” He continued to taunt the little girl until her parents noticed and shut the camera off.

“It’s pretty terrifying stuff, what these bad guys are doing,” cybersecurity expert and principal of Citrin Cooperman Kevin Ricci said.

Ring addressed these cyber attacks in a blog post, saying that there’s no evidence of a compromise in their network and the people behind the mystery voices are likely taking passwords from other sites and trying them on their camera accounts.

Ricci said it’s vital to use unique, strong passwords to keep your accounts secure.

“There are some common-sense best practices that users can do to protect themselves,” Ricci said. “The best place to start is by practicing good security with all of your devices — beginning with your home router — because that’s effectively the gateway that provides internet connectivity to all your devices, including these home cameras.”

In light of incidents like the one in Mississippi, Ring said they’ve “promptly blocked all bad actors from known affected Ring accounts and affected users have been contacted.”

The company is encouraging users to change their passwords and enable to two-factor authentication — which Ricci said is an added layer of security.

“That means, basically, in addition to entering a password, you would also acknowledge some type of text on your mobile device, for some example,” Ricci explained.

Ricci also said passwords should be changed everyone two-to-three months and to only share them with people you trust.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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