Legal Review: Have a Ring Doorbell? Make Sure You Update Your App

By Personal Injury Attorney Jeff Shiver of Shiver Hamilton

Ring doorbells were not a hit on the show Shark Tank when inventor Jamie Siminoff first brought his project to the sharks.

However, that did not keep him from launching the product in 2013 and in 2018, Amazon bought his company for $1 billion. Now though, Amazon has had to scurry to fix a security flaw in their Ring doorbells that actually posed a danger to homeowners instead of keeping them safer.

The Ring doorbell is a smart doorbell. When someone is at the door and presses it, the homeowner can see through a camera in the device who rang the bell. The device also allows homeowners to open their door remotely to let someone they know into the home. Recently though, a hack has been exposed that tricks homeowners into letting thieves and criminals into their home.

So, how does the scheme work? Those wishing to interfere with the device hack into a homeowner’s Wifi network at the same time the homeowner is connected. Once connected, the hacker can then see the video and hear the audio that is transmitted from the device.

The element of the hack that is even scarier is that hackers can also insert their own video into the feed. They may use footage of a trusted person ringing the doorbell to get the homeowner to remotely open the door when that trusted person is not actually there.

Instead, the hackers are waiting to be granted entry. The dangers of this type of negligent security are quite clear. If someone’s not in the home, thieves could take whatever they wanted. If someone was in the house, particularly children, the dangers become much greater.

“It is good that Amazon took quick action on this security flaw before anyone was seriously hurt or had their home invaded,” says Jeff Shiver of Shiver Hamilton. “If they had waited much longer, they would have certainly faced lawsuits from homeowners that entrusted both the company and the device with keeping them safe.”

Indeed, Amazon has fixed the device. In their latest software update, they corrected the glitch that allowed hackers into the device. All Ring owners need to do now is update the Ring app. This will install the fix, and keep their home secure.

Amazon recommends installing all updates as soon as they become available to keep Ring doorbells working in the manner they were intended.

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