Although fantastic security products, Ring doorbells and cameras do have one major flaw: poor encryption system. Their lack of encryption makes them susceptible to hacking, which is everyone’s worst nightmare.
Yes, ring doorbells and cameras can be jammed and blocked, despite what the manufacturers lead you to believe. With a decent Wi-Fi jammer and a bit of tech knowledge, a hacker can gain full control of your home Wi-Fi and incept the information sent to your security system. This leaves you and your home incredibly vulnerable to burglars
In this article, we’ll discuss how Ring doorbells and cameras get hacked and how to prevent it from happening.
Before that, let me ask you this: have you ever wondered how Ring doorbells and cameras work?
How Do Ring Doorbells and Cameras Work?
There are over 10 different Ring doorbell and camera models. While most come with their own unique functions and features, they all follow the same exact principle.
According to the official website, Ring systems create a “ring” of security around your home through the help of your home Wi-Fi network. Whenever someone approaches your door, your Ring system will immediately alert your Ring application and/or Echo device.
You’ll then be able to see and hear the person on the other side of the door, where you can speak to them using two-way audio communication.
Sound and video footage are automatically sent to Ring’s servers because the system doesn’t have built-in local storage. To send said information to the server, the device must be connected to a local network or the footage and audio will be lost.
So, if hackers jam the device, the system won’t be able to record or even alert the homeowner of the intruder.
How Do Ring Doorbells and Cameras Get Hacked?
With the rise of technology and social media, hackers and criminals have become smarter and more efficient. This isn’t good news for us homeowners, as it leaves us at an even higher risk of security breaches and the like.
Ring security products, including doorbells and cameras, are connected through the internet – which is naturally a risk – so your security can potentially be intercepted by third parties.
Some of Ring’s communications can also just use HTTP, not the more secure HTTPS, which is an added risk.
More than 80% of websites are protected with HTTPS secure encryption, primarily because the system uses TLS (SSL) to encrypt normal HTTP requests and responses. You won’t find this technology in HTTP connections.
Although nothing is truly 100% secure, manufacturers do their best to protect and hide user information to prevent unauthorized third-party access. Unfortunately, Amazon—Ring’s manufacturers—seem a bit laxer in terms of security than other security system suppliers.
Amazon’s Ring has been sued countless times over the past few years, and although some improvements were made, it’s still not as secure as its competitors.
In 2019, over 3,000 Ring usernames and passwords ended up online. Hackers obtained this information from a credential stuffing attack rather than the company’s databases.
Since people tend to use the same credentials for most of their online accounts, most of these attacks were successful. This incident wouldn’t have happened in the first place if Ring had a more solid security protocol.
Hackers hack Ring doorbells and cameras using two methods, namely:
Password spraying is a method in which hackers use multiple common and default passwords to brute force their way into your account. It goes without saying that the weaker the password is, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to gain access to the device.
Ring doorbells and cameras with common or weak passwords are among the first that fall victim to these attacks. This is why cybersecurity companies recommend changing your account passwords once every month or so.
Wi-Fi jamming, as the name suggests, “jams” or interrupts Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communications to prevent the transmission of alarms within wireless security systems. Once the Wi-Fi is jammed, hackers have free reign of the home without worrying about alerts and security measures placed by the homeowners.
Wi-Fi jammers intercept system communication through a device known as Wi-Fi jammers or simply jammers.
Jammers are sold for as cheap as $5 and can be bought from less-than-reputable technology centers and online markets (i.e., AliExpress, Made-in-China, Wish). These devices are illegal to own and use in the US.
According to US Federal law and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the operation, sale, or marketing of any type of jamming equipment is strongly prohibited.
But how do jammers work, exactly? It’s much more straightforward than you might have initially thought. Wi-Fi relies on radio frequencies to send signals between devices. To receive said frequencies and the information found within, the radio receiver (internet router) needs to obtain waves of certain frequencies—particularly 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz.
These frequencies create a clear path that allows the receiver to send information to the device (security system).
Jammers prevent the transfer of data by creating “traffic” in a local area, effectively blocking the path between the receiver and the device.
Said traffic will overpower the Wi-Fi signal, thereby causing a lapse in communication between the router and the security system. Due to the lack of connection, the security system will fail and render it useless.
How Do You Prevent Your Ring Security System from Getting Hacked?
Security breaches are threats that must be taken extremely seriously. In a single year, over one million burglaries are committed. Although most were spur-of-the-moment decisions, a decent chunk of these invasions was planned in advance.
Wi-Fi-powered security systems may pose potential dangers to you and your family, but this doesn’t mean you should stop using them. If you’re planning to use Ring doorbells and cameras, never fully trust the company and take the necessary precautions yourself.
Use a Strong Password
This advice is simple yet important. Since 2017, over 500 million passwords have been stolen from unsuspecting victims and sold to the dark web. 51% of internet users use the same password for their work and personal accounts, making it even easier to gather information and hack system accounts.
Prevent this by using a unique password for both your Ring account and your Wi-Fi network. If possible, use a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters for your password. Likewise, try using phrases instead of a single word or name.
In addition, consider using two-factor authentication. Thankfully, Ring enabled mandatory two-factor authentication in 2021 for most users. This is great news for Ring users, as it adds an extra layer of protection that makes it harder for hackers to crack.
Even so, these measures don’t guarantee your security. This is why you should always use an extra-strong password for your security devices.
Invest in a Firewall and Antivirus Software
By purchasing a standalone firewall and/or antivirus software, you’re protecting not only your home but also your personal online information. A reliable antivirus or firewall solution prevents unauthorized intrusions and third-party access.
Keep the Software Up-to-Date
After the massive attack in 2019, Ring has made great improvements to its security systems. Therefore, you should always keep your software up-to-date as it may come with essential security patches and network solutions.
This includes the device software, the Ring app, your Wi-Fi device, and your antivirus solution.
Most of these updates will happen automatically, but if you ever remember disabling automatic updates, you might want to review this setting now!
Consider a Non-Wireless Device
Security systems that rely on Wi-Fi networks have one major flaw: the wireless signal can be jammed.
Prevent this by investing in a non-wireless device like the Ring Doorbell Elite. Unfortunately, Ring has yet to produce a security camera that doesn’t run on Wi-Fi, so you might have to go looking for another brand like the Arli Go or the Reo-Link Go.
The Ring Doorbell Elite is immune to Wi-Fi jamming because it draws power from an Ethernet cable. Although more expensive than regular Ring products, the investment is worth it if you use your doorbell as a security measure.
Alongside the non-wireless device, it’s also worth purchasing a backup device that automatically turns on if the primary system fails. CCTV cameras, analog cameras, HD-over-coax cameras, and IP cameras are brilliant backup solutions that don’t require Wi-Fi.
Activate Protected Management Frames
Protected Management Frames aren’t available in all routers, so this technique, unfortunately, doesn’t apply to everyone.
If your router does support 802.11w PMF, it’s worth enabling it. PMFs are designed to prevent third-party attacks like honeypots, disconnects, and evil twin attacks. Jamming attacks that rely on disassociation won’t be able to block a PMF-enabled security system.
Ring doorbells and cameras are double-edged swords. On one hand, they provide top-tier security at an affordable cost. You don’t even have to pay for monthly contracts like most security systems. On the other hand, they don’t utilize strong encryption methods, making them susceptible to unauthorized attacks.
Don’t worry, though; as long as you follow the security measures above, your home will be protected from snoopers and intruders. Good luck!