Mother releases video of hacker talking to eight-year-old child through Ring camera

Hacker told child: 'I'm Santa Claus, don't you want to be my best friend?'

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 12 December 2019 18:15 GMT
'I'm your best friend, I'm Santa Claus!': Hacker talks to 8-year-old in her bedroom through security camera

A mother has released a video of a hacker talking to her eight-year-old daughter through a Ring camera set up in the child’s bedroom.

Ashley LeMay, a nurse from Desoto County, Mississippi, purchased the Ring security camera as a way of watching over her three daughters when she was required to work night shifts.

According to LeMay, she had purchased the camera during Black Friday, after another mum had recommended it.

“I did a lot of research on these before I got them. You know, I really felt like it was safe,” LeMay told WMC.

But, just four days after installing the camera, LeMay’s eight-year-old daughter Alyssa heard strange music coming from her room.

“At first what happened, I was in the hallway with my sisters and I heard some music, so I came upstairs and I hear some banging noise and I was like: ‘Who is that?’” the child told the news outlet.

After entering the room to look for the source of the music, a man’s voice came through the camera.

“I’m your best friend, I’m Santa Claus,” the man can be heard telling the child in the video. After Alyssa yells “Mommy!” the hacker repeats himself: “I’m Santa Claus, don’t you want to be my best friend?”

The man reportedly continued taunting the child and encouraging “destructive behaviour” until LeMay’s husband, who was home at the time watching the children, came into the room and disconnected the camera.

“I watched the video and I mean my heart just like... I didn’t even get to the end where she is screaming ‘mommy’ before I like ran inside,” said LeMay. “They could have watched them sleeping, changing. 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.”

While LeMay said she had not set up two-factor authentication for her Ring account, the family has since added extra security measures into their home.

The family has also been in contact with Ring, which in a statement to WMC, said the incident was not 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,” the company said. “While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.

“Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords."

The Independent has contacted Ring for comment.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in