Led by non-profit Fight for the Future, several consumer and privacy groups have issued a product warning after a mysterious attacker hacked into an Amazon Ring device in the bedroom of an 8-year-old girl. The attacker was able to view the child’s entire room and communicate with her via the device’s built-in two-way talk functionality.
The attacker shouted racist slurs at the child and even tried coercing her into misbehaving by saying he was her “best friend,” and he was “Santa Claus.” Eventually, the child yelled for help and then ran to her father to tell him what was happening. He immediately unplugged the camera and texted his wife — Ashley LeMay — who initially installed the device only weeks before the attack to keep an eye on her children.
“I can’t even put into words how badly I feel and how badly my children feel,” LeMay told The Washington Post. “I did the exact opposite of adding another security measure. I put them at risk, and there’s nothing I can do to really ease their minds. I can’t tell them I know who it is. I can’t tell them that they’re not going to show up at our house in the middle of the night.”
This is not an isolated incident
An Amazon Ring spokesperson told The Washington Post the hack was not related to a breach or compromise in Ring’s security. The spokesperson claims it was most likely a “bad actor” who utilized re-used stolen or leaked login credentials.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident, either. According to Fight for the Future, multiple Amazon Ring security issues and hacks have already raised significant privacy concerns. Amazon’s Ring doorbells have leaked users’ Wi-Fi passwords, home addresses, and other private information.
WBBH also reported a Florida family experienced a similar issue after a man hacked their Amazon Ring. The attacker started harassing the family with racist comments about their son. Another attacker began screaming at an Atlanta woman while she was in bed, and another threatened a Texas couple with a Bitcoin ransom demand.
“For too long we’ve been sold a false choice between privacy and security,” Fight for the Future Deputy Director Even Greer told NBC News. “It’s more clear every day that more surveillance does not mean more safety, especially for the most vulnerable. Talk to your family and friends and encourage them to do their research before putting a private company’s surveillance devices on their door or in their homes. In the end, Amazon doesn’t care about keeping our communities safe; they care about making money.”
The identity of these attackers is still unknown at this time.