A mother has released a chilling video of a hacker talking to her eight-year-old daughter through a Ring security camera in her bedroom.
The footage was recorded at the family home in Desoto County, Mississippi.
Ashley LeMay had installed the Ring security camera in order to watch over her three daughters and to feel connected to them during her night shifts as a nurse.
She said that she had done extensive research before buying the product during the Black Friday sale and that it had also been recommended to her by another mother.
But her eight-year-old daughter Alyssa said that she began hearing strange sounds in her bedroom including voices and music shortly after it was installed.
The footage released yesterday shows what happened after Alyssa went to investigate the noises as the haunting tune Tiptoe Through the Tulips began to play.
A mother has released a chilling video of a hacker talking to her eight-year-old daughter through a Ring security camera in her bedroom that was installed at the family home in Desoto County, Mississippi
In the clip, she can be seen momentarily standing still in the middle of her room.
She shouts out ‘who is that?’ as someone can be heard breathing as if behind the camera.
Then a male voice replies and says: ‘I’m your best friend, I’m Santa Claus.’
There is a brief pause before Alyssa calls down in distress to her mother.
The man repeats himself once more by saying ‘I’m Santa Claus. Don’t you wanna be my best friend?’ and the video ends shortly after.
Alyssa’s parents re-watched the tape later that evening and Ashley’s partner immediately disconnected the camera.
In the clip, the young girl can be seen momentarily standing still in the middle of her room before she shouts out ‘who is that?’
A male voice then replies and says: ‘I’m your best friend, I’m Santa Claus.’ There is a brief pause before Alyssa shouts down in distress to her mother
Speaking to WBC, Ashley said: ‘They could have watched them sleeping, changing. I mean they could have seen all kinds of things.
‘Honestly, my gut makes me feel like it’s either somebody who knows us or somebody who is very close by.’
The family, who had only had the security camera for four days, have released the footage in order to issue a warning to other parents.
They have also now increased other security measures in the house including changing their WiFi settings so it is no longer visible to others.
Eight-year-old Alyssa (pictured) said that she began hearing strange sounds in her bedroom including voices and music shortly after the Ring doorbell was installed
A spokeswoman for Ring said: ‘Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously.
‘While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.
‘Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services.
Ashley LeMay (pictured) had installed the Ring security camera in order to watch over her three daughters
‘As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords.’
Desoto County investigators and Ring are now both looking into the identity of the interceptor.
There have been increasing reports in recent months of other cameras also being compromised.
In October, Jack Newcombe, a father from San Jose, California, spoke about how his Google Nest camera was hacked while he and his wife were at work.
Their 18-month-old son was at home at the time, being cared for by a nanny, when a woman’s voice spoke through the device.
She originally stated that the family had a nice house but became increasingly agitated before saying: ‘I’m coming for the baby if you don’t answer me, bi**h!’
The revelations come after it emerged that the locations of thousands of homeowners with Ring devices can be established using supposedly hidden data held by the doorbell company.
Updates on users’ GPS positions can actually be mined and plotted on sprawling maps, according to Gizmodo.
Dan Calacci, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab was able to plot the locations of up to 20,000 of Ring cameras across 15 cities in the US
Residents with Ring can submit video footage of thieves caught on their doorbell cameras to the authorities via the Neighbors app. Their locations were able to be discovered
It was possible to establish data on 65,800 people’s individual posts using the crime-alert app, Neighbors – a platform that allows users to post and comment on crime and security information in their area – even using posts that dated back more than 500 days.
PhD student Dan Calacci, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab, was able to compile a map showing every Ring video posted to the app since 2017.
The free Neighbors app from the smart doorbell company was bought last year by Amazon for a reported $1billion.
Gizmodo said that they had acquired the data over the past month to reveal the extent of the potential for video surveillance across America.
They were able to pinpoint the location to around a square inch of ground and follow coordinates to stand in front of the Ring doorbell at around four to six feet away.
The website claimed it only stopped mining the data when it had enough to demonstrate the ease of access and not because they were stopped by Ring.
HOW TO SECURE YOUR RING DOORBELL
The Ring doorbell introduces a potential digital vulnerability to your physical world. If you plan to use it, then make sure you do so securely and take the following precautions:
- Protect your Wi-Fi with a guest network and use a strong password. Also, make sure to have well-customised settings (eg. do not share your Wi-Fi publicly and disable SSID broadcast so your network is not visible to strangers);
- Use a firewall and antivirus software;
- Be sure to attach your device securely so that it can’t easily be stolen;
- Always keep its software up-to-date;
- Do not share Ring videos on social networking apps as it might pose a threat to your security and privacy;
- Do not keep old footage. Delete it so there would be less information available about you in case of a breach.
Source: Daily Mail