The issue of the security surrounding the growing use of smart home devices has been raised again after a video surfaced online.
The video shows a hacker talking to a young girl in her bedroom in the United States, via her family’s Ring camera.
The security breach can affect any device not properly secured. In the summer a zero-day vulnerability was discovered for the Zoom video conferencing app that can serious consequences for Apple Mac computers. It was found that any website could “forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without the user’s permission.”
But the hacking of camera in a child’s bedroom is another step beyond, and will be a nightmare worry for many parents.
A report of the hacked video camera can be found here.
The camera accessed by the hacker was in the bedroom of three young girls, in a house in Tennessee.
In the video shared online, the hacker is heard playing the song Tiptoe through the Tulips and when a young girl asks: “Who’s there?” the hacker replies: “It’s Santa. It’s your best friend.”
The chilling implications should be a wake up call for parents to secure their smart home devices.
“Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously,” Ring told the BBC. “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,” the firm, owned by Amazon, said.
“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,” it said.
In 2015 for example toy maker Mattel triggered fresh privacy and security worries for parents with the development of a Wi-Fi connected Barbie doll.
The doll, called ‘Hello Barbie’ was designed to allow children to play interactive games, joke around, and hold two-way conversations thanks to ToyTalk’s speech-recognition platform.
Sobering incidents like these highlight the security angle for smart home devices.
Last year Israeli security researchers warned about the ease with which hackers can gain access to off-the-shelf Internet of things (IoT) devices.
The warning, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, said that vulnerable IoT devices includes baby monitors, home security and web cameras, doorbells, and thermostats and they are “easily co-opted”.
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