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When parents hear, “Mommy!” yelled from their child’s room, it’s usually the result of a bad dream, or perhaps a stomach ache. But, for users of doorbell security cameras, hearing, “Mommy!” come from a child’s bedroom turned peace of mind into a nightmare.

Instances of Hacked Doorbell Security Cameras

Recently, hackers gained access to users’ homes via their systems’ two-way talk features. Two-way talk allows users to see what’s going on in their homes and talk to occupants remotely via smartphone or tablet.

One recent attack involved an eight-year-old girl. A male voice told her via the Amazon Ring security camera in her bedroom that he was Santa Claus and wanted to be her friend. This was after calling her racial slurs and telling her it was OK to mess up her room and break her television.

In another instance, a woman awoke to a strange voice in her bedroom coming from her Ring security camera. The voice was yelling for her to wake up and calling her dog.

Google’s Nest Cam security cameras are not immune to hackers, either.

One couple experienced hearing a man’s voice over the camera system talking to their baby. The voice then yelled obscenities at them before asking why the homeowners were looking at him (the crook). They also reported that the hackers adjusted their thermostats.

In yet another Nest Cam incident, hackers warned a family about a supposed North Korean missile strike.

Company Response

A Ring spokesperson told The Washington Post in a recent statement that the Santa incident “is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security. Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously.”

They added that the hackers “often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services.”

Nest’s parent company, Google, told CBS News that Nest’s system was not breached, adding that reported incidents stem from customers “using compromised passwords … exposed through breaches on other websites.”

Preventing Hacked Security Cameras

The Ring spokesperson told the Post, “Consumers should always practice good password hygiene and we encourage Ring customers to change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication.”

To prevent these incidents from occurring, urges companies to require two-factor authentication (2FA), not just suggest using it.

“2FA needs a second form of identity, often a one-time code sent to a phone after a user enters a username and password, or a physical token that’s plugged in,” according to CNET.

How Hackers are Gaining Access

The report adds that hackers are using a technique called credential stuffing. If they get lists of stolen usernames and passwords, then they try to use them on different accounts. Hackers have created software tools to specifically hack Ring cameras.

Ring’s representatives told Vice, “As a precaution, we encourage all Ring users to set up two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change passwords.”

Take precautions before hackers take your peace of mind via your home security system.

Your Turn: How do you protect yourself from home security camera hackers? Tell us in the comments.

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