Hacker Uses Ring Security Camera To Terrify 8-Year-Old Girl
"I'm your best friend. I'm Santa Claus," someone told Alyssa LeMay.
A Mississippi mom says a hacker used a Ring security device to terrify her 8-year-old daughter with eerie music and alarming comments.
Video footage shows the disturbing ordeal began at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 4, when Alyssa LeMay heard strange sounds coming from the bedroom she shares with her two sisters.
"I thought it was my sister because I [heard] music," Alyssa told Memphis' WMC-TV.
A hacker, according to the family, used the Ring camera's two-way talk feature to live-stream a Tiny Tim cover of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," a song used in the 2010 horror movie "Insidious."
In the video, the confused girl frantically looks around before asking, "Who is that?"
"I'm your best friend," a mysterious voice responds. "You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room. You can break your TV."
According to The Washington Post, the stranger also uses racial slurs to taunt the child.
When Alyssa again asks who is speaking, the voice replies, "I'm your best friend. I'm Santa Claus." The person later asks the little girl, "Don't you want to be my best friend?"
The frightened girl eventually leaves the room and can be heard on the video telling her dad, "someone's being weird upstairs."
Alyssa's mom, Ashley LeMay, told The Washington Post she had been hesitant for years to install a Ring because she worried about privacy. When others recommended it, she finally decided to buy the device during a Black Friday sale. She said she especially liked the feature that allowed her to watch and talk to her kids when she wasn't home.
"When I would go into work, I'd be like, 'Love you, good night.' It just made them feel like I was close," said LeMay, a 27-year-old laboratory scientist.
LeMay and her husband disconnected the Ring camera after the disturbing incident and said they plan to return it.
"They could have watched them sleeping, changing," the concerned mom told WMC-TV. "I mean they could have seen all kinds of things. Honestly, my gut, it makes me feel like it's either somebody who knows us or somebody who is very close by."
LeMay said she is at a loss for words when it comes to explaining how bad she and her children feel.
In a statement to WMC-TV, Ring said people often use the same username and password for various accounts, which could allow hackers to re-use credentials stolen from another platform.
"I did the exact opposite of adding another security measure," she said. "I put them at risk and there's nothing I can do to really ease their mind. I can't tell them I know who it is. I can't tell them that they're not going to show up at our house in the middle of the night."
"It's critical for consumers to use two-factor authentication on their Rings," the company said. "Add shared users rather than sharing login credentials, use strong passwords, and regularly change them."