You may have heard horror stories about strangers hacking Ring cameras to spy on families and even talking to younger children through the speakers.
It's enough to make anyone feel a bit uneasy, and the first thought that may have crossed your mind is, can Ring cameras can be hacked?
Ring cameras and devices can be vulnerable to hacking if not properly secured. However, by taking a few simple steps, such as using strong passwords, updating software regularly, being cautious of suspicious emails and links, and enabling two-factor authentication, you can significantly reduce the risk of a security breach.
The chances of your Ring camera being hacked are quite low, but with some simple precautions, you can protect your device from malicious attackers.
In this guide, we'll look at some common strategies used by hackers to compromise Ring devices. Then we'll dive into some practical solutions to help keep your device secure. By the end of this guide, I guarantee you'll feel confident about using your device and keeping your family safe.
How Are Ring Cameras Hacked?
Hacking is often thought of as requiring a lot of skill, but it's not always difficult to hack a Ring camera. However, it's also not hard to protect yourself from most hacking attempts.
Ring cameras are loved for their convenience, allowing users to access them from anywhere with internet access. However, this also makes them vulnerable to hacking—like any other online account.
Hackers most commonly gain access to ring cameras when passwords are cracked or when they have your email and password from another online account that has been compromised. If someone gains access to your Ring account, they may get access to your personal info and to your camera's features.
Here are some basic ways Ring cameras are hacked:
Password cracking comes in many forms and refers to any process of stealing or guessing your password.
If a hacker gets your email or username, they use tools that can spam thousands upon thousands of common password guesses until they get it right. This is known as a brute force attack.
Phishing, or the process of someone getting you to give them your password, is also very common. This can be achieved by sending you sketchy email or SMS text links to click on and that is why you should always double-check where you are entering your information.
Put simply, credential stuffing is when someone gets a hold of your email and password on any other online service and just starts trying it in multiple places to see if it works. This is exactly why you don't want to use the same password for multiple accounts.
From Your Home Network
Last but not least, your home devices that connect to your Wi-Fi can be a gateway to other devices on the same network.
If an unauthorized user gains access to your network—or one of the devices connected to your network—all other devices could be at risk.
However, there is no reason to live in complete fear when you can do something about it. See some ways to prevent your Ring cameras from being hacked below!
Are Ring Devices Secure?
Okay, so we've talked about how hackers can get into your Ring cameras. But where are these cameras the most vulnerable?
Sadly, Ring cameras can be hacked, and the Ring company itself has been subject to data leaks. This is just part of the online world and something that happens to big companies like Ring.
The important thing to note is there is nothing that suggests that your information isn't currently safe while stored on their servers.
Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about Ring's security measures, but you can beef up your own security.
Ring cameras are the most at risk when they're accessed outside of your home. This includes signing into Ring away from home, sharing footage links, or having multiple users accessing the footage.
Most of the issues people encounter are a result of carelessness when sharing basic information or footage with others.
Does this mean that you shouldn't get a Ring camera?
No. Security is always a risk in the online world, but Ring has made steps to keep its customers safe.
Two important security features that have been implemented by Ring are requiring Two-factor authentication and offering end-to-end encryption.
Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is that feature that sends a unique code to your email or phone to make sure it is really you trying to access your account.
Ring has now made this mandatory for all accounts, which is great for those who are naturally a bit lazy. Not many companies do this, and while it may seem like an inconvenience, it is a very important first layer of protection.
End to End Encryption
Encryption is the encoding of file information from plain readable text to a code that requires a key to decipher. While Ring camera footage is encrypted when uploaded to the cloud, is not done when you share it with others.
E2EE feature is not required because it takes away access to some of the camera features you may like to use. But the feature is free to use and is a great way to prevent access to your footage from anyone but yourself.
How to Prevent Your Ring Smart Camera From Being Hacked
There is no need to live in total fear of "hackers" as there are very simple ways to do your part in preventing your smart cameras from being hacked.
1. Use Proper Password Safety
The first step to keeping your camera safe is to have a strong password.
Here's what Ring requires for a secure password:
- Must use at least 8 characters
- Include uppercase and lowercase letters
- Include at least one number and one symbol (such as ! $ @)
- Do not include your first or last name, email, user name, or birthday.
You should make your Ring password stronger by going over the minimum 8-character limit and using a multiple of the requirements above (numbers, symbols, etc.).
But how do you know if your password is truly strong? That's where our password strength checker comes in! It will evaluate your password and give you a rating on its strength. No more guessing or second-guessing. You'll have peace of mind knowing that your password is strong and secure.
In addition to using a strong password, it's also important that you don't reuse old passwords. We have all been guilty of this in the past, but hopefully, you can understand why this is not a good idea. Reusing passwords leaves you vulnerable to credential-stuffing attacks.
Using unique, strong passwords for Ring and other accounts can help limit the damage caused to one compromised account.
2. Use Two Factor Authentication
As previously mentioned, Ring now requires Two-factor authentication(2FA) on all user accounts. That said, you should also consider activating this on all your online accounts that offer it (email, Netflix, banking, etc.) for additional security.
It takes more time, but it is getting more necessary by the day to take additional security measures.
3. Enable E2EE (End to End Encryption)
End-to-end encryption is like a security blanket that keeps your videos safe from start to finish. Once this feature is enabled, your video information is put into a code to prevent it from being easily accessed by unauthorized users.
While this feature is ideal for optimum security, you should know that enabling it causes you to lose access to other features.
Here are the features you may no longer have access to once you enable E2EE:
- Shared Users
- Sharing Video Links
- Watching Live Video From a Ring Device on Multiple Devices at Once
- Camera Previews on the Dashboard
- Motion Verification
- Rich Notifications
- People Only Mode
- Snapshot Capture
You may be asking yourself, what is the point of enabling this if I lose half the features I want to use?
All the affected features are not essential in using and operating the cameras but rather just useful conveniences. E2EE encryption is serious business and is so secure that even law enforcement can't be granted access to it without coming to your device to access it. It really is an amazingly private feature that you should consider enabling.
You can start the process of enabling end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for your Ring camera by going to the control panel and then selecting "Video Encryption Setup." It will then walk you through the steps of enrolling in the device you want to use. For step-by-step guidance and tips, check out How to Set Up Ring Video End-to-End Encryption.
4. Update Your Wi-Fi Security
Basic online safety at home starts with securing access to your router and Wi-Fi.
Here are some basic things to check and rules to follow to keep your Wi-Fi secure:
- Enable Wi-Fi encryption and turn on the firewall
- Create a strong password and change it regularly
- Learn how to verify connected devices
- Change default router login information
- Upgrade to a WPA3-compatible router
- Keep your router updated
This can seem like a lot of steps, but doing at least a few of these things can help. You may need to contact your internet service provider for help in some cases.
For additional info on any of these steps, you can also check out Wi-Fi Security tips from CNET.
5. Don't Share Your Footage
You should never share your Ring camera footage with anyone in a message, especially not on any social media platform.
While most platforms have high security, this is just another unnecessary risk that can be avoided. You can instead show the footage on your phone to close friends and family without letting them access it directly.
Be sure to also maintain your footage by deleting old clips so that you can more easily detect any unusual activity on your account.
6. Keep Software Updated
Over time hackers find vulnerabilities in software that can allow them to sneak through lines of security. Software developers patch these holes in security and include these fixes in software updates.
You should keep the software updated on all the devices that are connected to your home internet for maximum security. This, of course, includes often checking for updates for your Ring cameras.
7. Use Antivirus Software
The use of Antivirus software should be a well-known concept by now and is still more important than ever. It can protect you from viruses, malware, unauthorized access attempts, and much more.
If your device is infected, this software can identify this and remove it before it spreads. Purchased software is also constantly updated to watch out for new types of attacks that are being developed.
8. Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, is another piece of technology that is now a must-have.
VPNs are super easy to use, add another layer of security, and have that additional benefits that you may not know about.
Here are some reasons why you should consider getting a VPN:
- Security: A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, which makes it harder for hackers and other third parties to monitor or intercept your data.
- Anonymity Online: A VPN can help protect your online anonymity by masking your IP address, which makes it harder to track you.
- Protection on the Go: When using Wi-Fi away from home, your devices are more vulnerable to security threats. VPNs can be used anywhere to get instant protection.
In short, protecting mobile devices and computers with a VPN is another way to reduce the chances of unwanted access to your cameras and footage.
Isn't it weird that we have to worry about the security devices we buy being something that can put us at risk?
Unfortunately, there will always be some worry with online devices like these that have so many awesomely convenient features.
Still, I hope this hasn't scared you totally away from using Ring cameras but rather educated you just enough on how to use them more safely.
There is still no doubt in my mind that these cameras are so worth having.