A hacker has managed to remotely access an Amazon Ring doorbell and used it to try and extort ₿50 ($362,000) from the shocked inhabitant. Fortunately the scam didn’t work, but it is a reminder that hackers are trying even more elaborate ways to get their hands on your cash.
₿50 Ransom or “Termination”
The incident occurred in Grand Prairie just outside Dallas, where 28-year-old Tania Amador had installed Amazon Ring, an internet-connected video doorbell. Amador told local TV station WFAA that she was asleep when the Ring alarm sounded as if there was an intruder in the property. Before she could go and investigate however, a voice came through the speaker in the camera telling her that her system had been compromised and she needed to pay a ₿50 ransom or she would be “terminated”. When Amador checked the video feed, she was terrified to see that it appeared the hackers were outside her front door.
Leaked User Details More Likely than Hardware Hack
After realizing that the hack was remote and the hackers weren’t in fact outside, Amador and her boyfriend removed the batteries from the cameras and contacted Amazon about the issue. Further research revealed her case was not an isolated one – Ring has been compromised on many occasions, most likely because of a data breach involving user details being stolen or leaked and purchased on the dark web, allowing hackers easy access to the devices. However, a recent Motherboard report found that there software exists for as little as $6 that is specifically designed to hack Ring cameras.
Hackers Push the Envelope in 2019
2019 has seen hackers use novel ways of trying to extort innocent people. In June it was reported that some were using ads in YouTube videos to push people towards downloading malware that would steal their crypto. Other methods included hiding ransomware in crypto giveaways and buying up doctored identity details to reset an exchange user’s account, thus getting their hands on that user’s funds.