In an eerie tale of technology gone wrong, a Mississippi family fell victim to their video monitors being hacked. Using their newly installed Ring monitoring system, a hacker was able to access their camera to spy on and talk to their eight-year-old child.
The LeMay family was horrified to discover that someone was not only able to gain access to their Ring monitoring system, but used it to view and communicate with their daughter Alyssa. The young girl heard sound coming from her bedroom and assumed it was her sisters talking and playing. But when she entered, a strange man’s voice called her a racial slur and then began telling her to do things like mess up her bedroom.
Alyssa’s parents were horrified. A device they had installed in hopes of making them feel safer and more connected to each other had caused terror in their children. Ashley LeMay, Alyssa’s mother, works a night shift and said she enjoyed being able to talk to her girls before bed and say good night using the camera’s two-way talk feature. But since the incident the girls have been afraid to even sleep in their own bedroom. The LeMays contacted Ring manufacturers about their experience, and the company suggested they set up additional security measures.
This terrifying incident isn’t the first in which video monitors have been used to spy on children. In the summer of 2018 a South Carolina mom discovered her baby monitor was being used to view her breastfeeding her son. After noticing the camera moving in the direction of her and her child, Jaime Summitt was sickened to find that she and her son were being watched by someone outside of their home.
The Summitt family’s Fredi video baby monitor had been hacked by someone who was able to gain access to their video feed. Jaime wrote in a Facebook post about the incident, “I feel so violated. This person has watched me day in and day out in the most personal and intimate moments between my son and I. I am supposed to be my son’s protector and have failed miserably.”
Experts like those at Digital Trends say it is almost impossible to catch the culprits of these Internet invasions of privacy, but do have some advice when it comes to protecting your home.
If you have a Ring system, make sure to enable two-factor identification.
This safety measure is available on many widely used platforms and helps protect against anyone attempting to access your device. Once it is set up, you will receive a text message with an access code whenever someone is trying to log into your account.
Use effective passwords.
Generate a unique password each and every time you have to create a password, rather than reusing the same ones repeatedly for the sake of convenience. There are programs and apps available to help you create and store unique passwords; Digital Trends offers a list of their most recommended password protection apps.
Create shared accounts rather than sharing passwords.
Ring comes with a unique option to share your content with others, like a teenage child, rather than sharing your password. Follow their instructions for creating shared users on your account instead of giving out your password.
The more ways we have to connect with others, the more opportunities there are for people to take advantage of those opportunities and cause harm. Make sure you do your homework when shopping for any type of monitoring device. Your children’s safety and your peace of mind are more important than any video monitor.