If you own a Ring smart home, the last thing you want is a security breach. The thought of someone hacking the IoT devices in your home to gain access is nerve-wracking. So, it would help if you take precautionary measures to avoid this security issue.
The way you protect your password or secure your account is what matters. This article teaches you how to secure your Ring doorbell so you can stay on top of your home’s security. In addition, keeping the device’s software always up to date will increase the security of the device and home network.
What are Ring security devices?
The Amazon-owned home security company Ring produces IoT devices such as smart video doorbells and security cameras. With the Ring doorbell, you can control your front from anywhere within your home. Once you mount it close to your front door and connect it to your mobile device using Wi-Fi, you’ll be good to go. The camera allows you to see anyone who comes to your house, and you can remotely decide to let them in or not.
Ring also has indoor and outdoor cameras for those who want to monitor their home while they are away. These cameras allow you to monitor your pets and check on your kids while running errands. With the two-way talk feature and motion sensors installed in the camera, you can talk to the people in your home in real-time.
How to install a Ring doorbell
- Slide the doorbell’s battery out and plug it in the USD to charge it. When fully charged, slide it back in.
2. Follow the on-screen prompts on the Ring app to set up your doorbell
3. Before you start the installation, turn off the relevant breaker. This will help you prevent electrocution.
4. Now, it’s time to replace your old doorbell. Attach the mini-level to the slot on the front of your doorbell. This way, you won’t install the doorbell at an angle.
5. Measure and mark the doorbell’s placement by using it as a template.
6. Wire the doorbell to the wall by using the screwdriver to loosen the two terminal screws on the doorbell’s back.
7. Use one of the wires to line up the doorbell extender. Securely connect the wire nut by twisting it clockwise. Do that for the two wires. Also, secure the wires under the terminal screws. Ensure that the exposed parts do not touch one another.
Make sure all wires are fed back into the wall, and use the screws to secure your doorbell to the wall. Take off the mini-level and attach your doorbell’s faceplate.
8. Use security screws to secure the faceplate
9. Now, turn on the power to your breaker
Features of the Ring Video Doorbell
Here are some of the features offered by the Ring Doorbell
- The Ring app is available on Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices. It provides login notifications, which allow you to know when someone logs into your account with another device.
- Ring has made its two-factor authentication mandatory for all users to add an additional layer of protection.
- Ring doorbell comes with different protective cases that are meant to protect it against the elements.
- Motion sensors notify you when someone rings your doorbell or gets too close to trigger it.
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How do Ring smart devices threaten your safety?
Ring smart devices can be susceptible to a few security issues. Some of these security issues can be quickly addressed and resolved. One question on many people’s minds is: can someone hack Ring devices? Well, judging from the experience of some users, Ring devices can be hacked.
It is possible to intercept a Ring doorbell via the network it uses. Since the data between the Ring doorbell and its application is not encrypted, it’s easy for bad actors to access it. When they hack your Ring device, it allows them to monitor the people who come into and leave your house.
Also, these bad actors may even steal your Wi-Fi password. If you are using an older version of the app, hackers can trick you into allowing a stranger into your home. All they need to do is show you a video of someone familiar, and you will open your door. Ring smart cameras are also susceptible to some privacy & security issues.
How do smart video doorbells get hacked?
A strong password is essential when using any smart device. If your password is easy to break, your device will be more vulnerable to hackers. Many hackers use advanced password cracking software to do their dirty work. So, for people with weak passwords such as ‘000000’ or ‘123456’, hacking into your Ring devices will be a piece of cake.
You should know that not all Ring devices will prompt you to change the default password once you install them. Therefore, instead of waiting for a reminder, take the initiative to change the default username and password by yourself. Smart devices can send packets of data to centers using their internet connection.
You may expect this data to be encrypted, but that’s not the case. Encrypted data is scrambled and almost impossible to be intercepted. But when your device is sending unencrypted data, hackers might gain access to information like your Wi-Fi password or your device password. They may also gain complete control of your device.
The hacker will be able to ring the doorbell at any time, even during odd hours. They can decide to increase or decrease the volume. It is not as dangerous as it is mischievous, but you would not want this to happen to you. Some bad actors may gain unhindered access into your home network by installing malware in the doorbell and other network connected devices.
What will happen when my doorbell gets hacked?
It’s a risky situation and can be bad for your security and privacy when someone hacks your doorbell. Here are a few things that could happen when your doorbell gets hacked.
When your doorbell doesn’t stop ringing at odd hours, especially at night, it can be unpleasant. For vulnerable or older adults, this can be scary. Hackers can also gain access to your recordings. They will be able to control who comes in and leaves your house.
Home network exploitation
A vulnerable doorbell can give a hacker access to your home network and put devices such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs at risk. All the connected devices in your home have some personal data stored in them. Imagine how you would feel if all that personal data got into the wrong hands.
How to prevent your Ring smart devices from being hacked
While Ring doorbells and security cameras are great for keeping your home safe, they may present a few other security issues to you and your household. Fortunately, these potential dangers can be prevented. If you’re using Ring devices, ensure that you take the necessary precautions and don’t rely on the company to do that for you.
1. Create strong passwords
It’s important that the password for your Wi-Fi network and your Ring account is secure. According to Ring, hackers can easily gain access to your account if you reuse passwords from other platforms. So, if you want to keep your Ring account secure, you must use a unique password. Your password should be a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols such as exclamation points.
Such passwords are not as easy to crack, and you can even make them stronger by using phrases instead of one word. If you find it challenging to come up with a password, a password generator can help you with it. Also, it helps to update your password frequently and successful password attacks will be less likely. If you are worried about forgetting your passwords, a password vault is an excellent way to prevent that.
2. Don’t share your login information
Sometimes people around you may need to access your Ring devices. You can give them access without exposing your login information and putting your smart home at risk. Here’s what you should do; add them as shared users on the account. This way, they can view and save videos and also use the two-way talk feature.
But they won’t have access to the login information of the master account. Here’s how to add a shared user:
- Launch the app and select your device.
- Go to Settings and tap Shared Users and Add user.
- Once you are done, type the email address of the person you want to add as a shared user.
- Select the devices you intend to share with the user and tap on Send Invite.
The process will be complete as soon as the person accepts the invite. They can now access your chosen devices using their own app and login details. However, you should ensure that everyone uses a strong password and two-factor authentication.
3. Avoid sharing videos on social networks
It can be very tempting to upload your videos on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. You may want to share hilarious footage of some animals scrounging around your trash. Or, you may share the footage with your neighbors to alert them of suspicious behavior. Whatever the case is, you should resist the temptation of sharing your videos online.
When your surveillance videos are available online, it is easier for hackers to gain access to your system. There can be indicators on that video footage that can identify your particular camera.
4. Do not keep old footage
It is good to get rid of old footage because hackers can target you more easily if you have lots of videos on your device. Not only can hackers access your camera’s live stream when they log in, but they can also older videos. But when you delete them, there will be less information in there when a breach occurs.
5. Purchase a firewall and antivirus service
Everyone who owns Ring devices should learn how to secure them. Although the technical aspects of security can be overwhelming, you will be more confident if you learn how to secure your Ring camera. You can prevent bad actors from hacking your IoT devices using a standalone firewall and antivirus service. This will also help you keep your network safe from other threats.
6. Keep the camera’s software up to date
Ensure that you update your camera’s software for optimal performance and security. A system that is out of date is vulnerable to unauthorized access. So, it would help if you always stayed on top of your Ring device’s security upgrades.
7. Secure your home network with a VPN
Take your security to the next level by securing your home network with a VPN. You can use a VPN provider, such as NordVPN, to hide your IoT devices’ IP addresses. It also encrypts the data your device sends and receives.
How to Prevent Your Ring Doorbell from being stolen
You can prevent your Ring doorbell from being stolen in a few different ways. How you do it depends on the setup of your front door.
1. Attach it directly to the wall
Ring doorbells are mounted to the door frame or wall using screws. These screws may be easy to lose when attached to the door frame. So, it would be best to attach your Ring doorbell directly to the wall. When your doorbell is attached directly to plaster, stucco, or cement, it will be hard to remove.
Any thief who tries to pull it out will face a very time-consuming and challenging task. Thieves always avoid such situations.
2. Have an Extra Camera
It is always a good idea to have a backup. This applies to everything you do, and your home’s security is not left out. Instead of relying solely on the camera on your doorbell, you should install an additional pair of eyes somewhere else so you can monitor the door front. You can install the extra camera in your front window.
3. Display a Sign
As easy as this may sound, displaying a sign is one of the best ways to reduce theft. Thieves are less likely to attack your home if you displayed a sign with a message informing people that they are being watched. A simple picture of watching eyes can be enough to reduce instances of theft significantly.
You can also use this technique to prevent someone from stealing your doorbell. If potential thieves see the sign you displayed, they will know that the area is monitored. Since they are aware that stealing your doorbell will not do them any good, they will stay away.
4. Use a Protective Cover
You can protect your Ring doorbell by installing a metal locking plate or a grid box. Also, you can put the Ring doorbell in a stainless steel box before installing it. But while at it, you should ensure that the camera’s view is not obstructed.
Your Ring doorbell comes with different protective cases that are meant to protect it against the elements. However, it would be great to purchase a protective case to prevent your doorbell from being stolen.
5. Don’t ignore the notifications.
Once someone gets close to your doorbell, the motion sensors get triggered. When this happens, you will get a notification. Please do not ignore the notifications, as some thieves might become scared when they hear your voice over the doorbell.
It would be best to always keep your smartphone around you. You do not want to miss any notifications, especially if you want to stay on top of your home’s security.
What do you do if someone steals your Ring doorbell?
We all know how important it is to keep our belongings safe. The same goes for your Ring doorbell. You do not want it to get stolen. Not after you have paid money to purchase it, so it’s wise to know how you should react when you find out that someone has stolen your doorbell.
Fortunately, when you lose your Ring doorbell to thieves, the company will offer you a new similar model, and you won’t have to pay a dime for it. All you need to do is provide evidence that your Ring doorbell was stolen. That’s easy because the doorbell is wireless and captures around 30 seconds of footage.
Here are the steps to follow when someone steals your Ring doorbell:
- The first thing to do is report the theft to the police. Ensure that you do that as soon as you can.
- Secondly, you should provide photos of your stolen doorbell (taken at a date prior to the theft). But while doing that, do not touch anything on the scene. Wait for the police to arrive.
- Ring requires you to provide a copy of the police report on your stolen doorbell before they honor the replacement. So, it would help if you asked the police to give you a copy.
- Lastly, you must report the theft of your doorbell to Ring no later than 15 days after the theft happened.
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Ring doorbell is a surefire way to keep intruders out of your home. But it can also be a means for bad actors to gain access to your smart home if you’re not careful. That’s why you must always protect your password and use all the precautionary measures mentioned above.