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Two-Factor Authentication Is Important For Preventing Security Camera Hackings

A hacker recently talked to an eight-year-old girl in Tennessee through the Ring security camera in her bedroom.

The girl's parents had installed the camera just days earlier. Her mother put the camera in her daughters' bedroom so that she could watch and talk to her three girls while she worked overnight shifts as a nurse.

When the young girl walked into her bedroom, the hacker said, "Hello there," and then played "Tiptoe through the Tulips" through the Ring speaker.

The girl asked, "Who is that?" The hacker replied, "I'm your best friend. You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room. You can break your TV. You can do whatever you want."

The girl asked who it was again, and the hacker said, "I'm Santa Claus." The girl yelled for her mother and then said "I don't know who you are" before leaving the room to notify her parents.

A spokesperson for Ring stated that the incident did not signal a breach or compromise of the organization's overall security. According to local TV stations, the family had not enabled two-factor authentication, which Ring encourages all customers to do.

The family decided to return the Ring security camera. Chacour Koop "Hacker uses Ring camera to spy on Tennessee girl in her bedroom: 'I'm Santa Claus'" charlotteobserver.com (Dec. 11, 2019).

Commentary

Many workplaces have security cameras that are connected to the internet, and most laptops and smartphones contain cameras. If hackers access your network and break into your camera, laptop, or device, they can spy on you and record whatever you say.

To keep cybercriminals from hearing a credit card number, watching your daily activities, or overhearing company confidential information, you must protect your wireless network and your devices.

Always change the default username and password on security cameras and other devices. Protect all devices containing cameras with a strong password and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. Two-factor authentication provides a necessary second barrier to accessing your cameras should a hacker crack your password.

If possible, enable encryption within your security camera's administrative tools. Also, encrypt your laptop, smartphone, and other devices that have cameras. Keep software and firmware updated on all cameras and devices.

Prevent cybercriminals from accessing your wireless network, which could give them access to your security cameras and other devices connected to your WiFi. Enable WPA2 encryption on all wireless access points. Hide your network's SSID so that hackers cannot find your network and disable access from outside networks. Provide guest network access, rather than giving out your network password, to those who only need to access your network for a limited amount of time.

It can be difficult to tell if your cameras have been hacked—not every cybercriminal will start talking to you through the device, as in the case above. Therefore, it's important to watch for any changes in performance that could signal a breach. Camera operations running more slowly than normal is one possible sign.

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