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I'm Santa Claus: how a hacker talked to a girl about a camera Ring in her room


A Ring camera like the one that was hacked; connected to the Internet, allows you to see and hear what happens in a room of the house from anywhere in the world

"Who is it? I can't see you!" Says a girl who turns around in her room while listening to the voice of an unknown man. "I am Santa Claus. I am your best friend," says the voice. "You can do anything you want now," he adds.

That is what a video shows that, according to the 8-year-old girl's family, was recorded on a Ring smart camera that was hacked. The family of Mississippi, United States, shared the video on social networks warning people to better secure this type of device.

As the LeMay family told the Washington Post, the security camera was recently installed in the room that Alyssa LeMay shares with her two little sisters.

The video shows a multi-minute exchange in which the man repeatedly insults the girl and tries to persuade her to misbehave. "You can mess up your room, you can break your television, you can do everything you want," says the man. "Who are you? I can't see you!" Shouts the scared girl before calling her mom.

Apparently this is not the only incident of this kind. The Motherboard technology website informed that in Internet forums that use hackers, software is offered that makes it easier to access these devices.

And the US network NBC-2 reported this week that hackers had accessed the cameras of a family in Florida in a similar way, on that occasion shouting at them racist insults on the device.

Ring, whose owner is Amazon, said the Mississippi incident was not linked to a security breach.

Strong password and two-step authentication

"Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously."

"Although we are still investigating this matter and taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we can confirm that this incident is in no way related to a breach of Ring's security or that it has been compromised."

"Due to the fact that consumers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often steal or filter credentials in one service and reuse them in other services," the company adds.


One of the Ring camera models, which let you know who rings the bell from anywhere in the worldOne of the Ring camera models, which let you know who rings the bell from anywhere in the world

"As a precaution, we openly encourage all Ring users to practice two-factor authentication in their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords "says Amazon.

Two-factor authentication involves using a strong password and offering a mobile phone number to receive a six-digit verification code.

Alyssa LeMay's parents told the WMC Action News 5 channel that they recently bought the camera and that they had not established two-factor authentication.

Security expert Ken Munro told the BBC that, like all smart devices connected to the internet, the Ring camera can be an easy target for hackers if it is not properly secured.

"This is a cruel reminder that connected devices (internet) can be compromised if users do not take basic precautions," he said.

"Ring users need to make sure they don't use the same password for their Ring account and other accounts. Hackers are simply creating tools to reuse stolen passwords in other cyber attacks."

"It would also be sensible for all owners of a Ring camera to check if they have implemented two-factor authentication, as this makes password reuse very difficult," says Munro.