A chilling video, shared by an American family, shows the moment a little girl, 8, was harassed by a man who hacked into her family’s Ring video camera system.

It took just four days from the installation of the video system to the time someone hacked into the camera and started talking to the girl from Desoto County, USA.

The girl’s mother, Ashlee LeMay Blakeley sent the video to WMC Action News 5 reporter Jessica Holley. It has since been shared by the Washington Post, the Today Show and several US media outlets.

What actually happened?

The video makes for scary viewing.

The little girl can be seen wandering around her bedroom when the man’s voice says: “Cmon girl say it with me *** (swear word bleeped out).”

The girl replies: “Who is that?”

At this point, the hacker encourages her to misbehave and repeat the swear word.

“I’m your best friend you can do whatever you want right now you can mess up your room, you can break your TV, you can do whatever you want. Cmon can you say the magic word? ****.”

When the girl asks again, “Who is that?”, the man scarily replies: “I’m your best friend… I’m Santa Claus.”

At that point, the girl calls for her mum

The man says: “I’m Santa Claus, don’t you want to be my best friend?”

The reaction

Ms LeMay told the Washington Post she was devastated by the video.

“I did the exact opposite of adding another security measure. I put them at risk and there’s nothing I can do to really ease their mind. I can’t tell them I know who it is. I can’t tell them that they’re not going to show up at our house in the middle of the night.”

Since she shared the Ring Video camera footage, the girl’s mother has been swamped with emails and messages. She said the family had offered the video for free to the media in the hope of raising awareness.

Ring’s Response

Mum Central reached out to Ring for comment. In a statement, the company said they had no evidence of hacking the network, but they believed the intruder may have obtained the user password from a non-Ring service.

“Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. Our security team has investigated this incident and we have no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.

“Recently, we were made aware of an incident where malicious actors obtained some Ring users’ account credentials (e.g., username and password) from a separate, external, non-Ring service and reused them to log in to some Ring accounts. Unfortunately, when the same username and password is reused on multiple services, it’s possible for bad actors to gain access to many accounts.

“Upon learning of the incident, we took appropriate actions to promptly block bad actors from known affected Ring accounts and affected users have been contacted. Consumers should always practice good password hygiene and we encourage Ring customers to change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication.”

Mum Central has also contacted the LeMays for comment. We will update the story if we hear back from them.

If you are looking to buy a home video system, ask about encryption and safety. Brands such as Oricom and Kodak have encryption and further safety features. You can read about Oricom baby monitors here and Kodak video systems here.

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Author

Alison Godfrey has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years. She loves coffee, wine, skiing and spending time with her husband, two children and their dog. But she's still not sure about the cat. He's pretty cranky.

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