A hacker accessed a family's Ring security camera and told their 8-year-old daughter he was Santa Claus

A hacker gained access to the Ring security camera of a Mississippi family and used the speaker feature to harass their 8-year-old daughter, telling her he was Santa Claus and encouraging her to destroy the room.

Posted: Dec 13, 2019 9:51 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2019 5:30 PM


Someone gained access to the Ring security camera of a Mississippi family and used the speaker feature to harass their 8-year-old daughter, telling her he was Santa Claus and encouraging her to destroy the room.

The horrifying ordeal is one of several recent incidents in which hackers have figure out a way to log into Ring accounts without the user's knowledge.

Ashley LeMay told CNN affiliate WMC she installed the camera in her daughters' room so she could watch over them while she works overnight nursing shifts. 'I did a lot of research on these before I got them. You know, I really felt like it was safe,' she told the affiliate.

The intrusion happened just four days after she installed it when she was running an errand and her husband was at home with the kids.

When her daughter Alyssa heard noises coming from her bedroom, the child went in to see what it was.

The Ring camera footage, obtained by WMC, shows Alyssa standing nervously in her room while Tiny Tim's rendition of 'Tiptoe through the Tulips,' a warbling song featured in the horror movie 'Insidious,' plays over the camera's speaker.

'Who is that,' Alyssa asks, after a man's voice fills her room.

'I'm your best friend. I'm Santa Claus,' the voice says. 'I'm Santa Claus. Don't you want to be my best friend?'

WMC reported the unidentified person continued to harass the girl, taunting her and encouraging her to destroy her room.

'I watched the video and I mean my heart just like ... I didn't even get to the end where she is screaming 'Mommy, mommy' before I like ran inside,' LeMay said.

Ring responds

In a statement sent to CNN, Ring said the hacker did not gain access through a data breach or compromise of Ring's security. Instead, the person likely took advantage of the family's weak account security.

'Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously,' the statement said. 'We have investigated this incident and can confirm it is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring's security.'

According to the statement, Ring users 'often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions.' If those were to fall into the wrong hands, those devices could be compromised.

'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 statement said.

Ashley told WMC she had not set up two-factor authentication on her device.

Others have been hacked and harassed

There were at least three other instances in the past week alone involving Ring devices.

On Wednesday morning, a father in Nebraska was shocked to hear a voice talking to his daughter through the Ring camera on their kitchen counter. He told CNN affiliate WOWT that he immediately unplugged the device and called Ring, who told him a third-party device had logged into his account.

Earlier this week, an Atlanta woman was in her bed when a man's voice came over her bedroom Ring camera, yelling that he could see her and demanding that she wake up, CNN affiliate WSB-TV reported.

On Sunday night in Florida, a Cape Coral couple was harassed by a person over their Ring camera who made racist comments about their biracial family, revealing that he had likely been watching them for days.

On each of these occasions, Ring said the system invasion was not the result of a breach or failure of Ring's security. Instead, the hacker had likely gained access to the family's account through weak or stolen login credentials.

How to avoid being a victim

Most customers, called 'neighbors' by Ring, buy the cameras hoping to get the peace of mind and protection the company advertises.

Steps can be taken to protect your personal data and make it more difficult for unknown people to gain access to your accounts.

Practicing good security habits with strong and unique passwords is the first step towards strengthening your account security.

Change default password immediately and avoid using phrases or dates that are significant to you, like birthdays or relatives' names.

Remembering multiple passwords is difficult, but password managers like 1Password or LastPass can help you keep your passwords secure but on hand for when you need to use them.

Two-factor or two-step authentication, like Ring encourages its users to set up, adds an additional layer of security on your accounts.

Two-step authentication involves a user entering a password followed by a prompt to either enter a code sent via text or email, swipe a fingerprint or provide another way to prove their identity.


An earlier version of this story misidentified the state where the LeMay family lives. They live in Mississippi.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56183

Reported Deaths: 2907
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10023420
Cuyahoga7571372
Hamilton5770197
Marion273038
Lucas2700302
Pickaway218841
Summit2110206
Montgomery193126
Mahoning1818231
Butler154744
Columbiana129560
Stark1091112
Lorain99767
Trumbull92565
Warren82321
Clark7659
Delaware55315
Belmont54422
Fairfield54316
Tuscarawas54110
Medina50832
Lake49218
Licking46612
Miami45531
Portage43258
Ashtabula43144
Wood41251
Geauga40042
Clermont3946
Wayne36051
Richland3325
Allen30840
Mercer2808
Greene2489
Darke24625
Erie23622
Holmes2263
Huron2112
Madison1938
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Washington13120
Putnam12715
Sandusky12714
Hardin12012
Ross1183
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton942
Monroe8817
Jefferson872
Union821
Muskingum811
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Williams692
Clinton680
Guernsey683
Lawrence680
Shelby654
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot586
Brown561
Defiance503
Athens491
Knox481
Fayette460
Highland441
Champaign391
Scioto380
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Perry321
Henry290
Adams231
Paulding230
Pike230
Jackson220
Vinton222
Gallia161
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Huntington
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Heat Continues Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events