Ring And Amazon Sued For Security Camera Hacks They Blamed On Customers

Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty

Ring and its parent company, Amazon, are facing a class-action lawsuit over allegations of negligence, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment for the allegedly lax security standards that have left thousands of cameras vulnerable to hacking. This comes on the heels of several high-profile reports about security vulnerabilities, including by Vice and Gizmodo .

The suit was filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for California’s Central District by John Baker Orange on behalf of himself and other individuals who have similarly had their home security devices hacked.

According to the suit, Mr. Orange’s three children, ages 7, 9, and 10, were outside playing basketball when an unsettling voice engaged them through the built-in speaker system. The stranger spoke directly to the children, “commenting on their basketball play and encouraging them to get closer to the camera,” the suit claims.

Upon learning of the incident, Orange “changed the password on the Ring camera and enabled two-factor authentication.” The suit alleges that the hacking was a “direct and proximate” result of Ring’s failure to properly secure its camera systems against unauthorised access and claims that “Ring failed to meet this most basic obligation by not ensuring its Wi-Fi enabled cameras were protected against cyber-attack,” it reads.

The filing cites seven other hacking incidents including a harrowing account from Mississippi this December that described a hacker harassing an 8-year-old girl while pretending to be Santa Claus.

Ring did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. We will update when we hear back.

Ring, which Amazon purchased last year for $US1 ($1.5) billion, has consistently attempted to distance itself from liability for cyberattacks on its users, instead insisting that its customers failed to create strong passwords. Indeed, in a statement Orange says Ring sent to the Mississippi family, the company said: “During an investigation by our security team, we identified that the email address and password of one of your external accounts were exposed in a data breach. The incident we emailed you about is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.”

While throwing your camera in the trash might mitigate the immediate terror of having your device accessed by a stranger, the suit is right to point out that hackers will “have access to information derived from those cameras for years.” Until Ring decides to take their security seriously, their customers will continue to be fodder for hackers and plaintiffs of class action lawsuits.

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