Was It Only a Matter of Time?

Around the holidays, home automation gifts make their way into consumer hands and homes. Items such as voice assistants, smart appliances (from washing machines to thermostats), and yes, even video doorbells. The one major piece of advice that we’ve touted over the years about internet-connected things: Change the default password to something strong and unique! With the recent news about Ring doorbell hacks, the latter is most important.

Just last month, there were multiple reports of spying through Ring doorbells. An eight-year-old girl in Mississippi had an upsetting interaction with a hacker who claimed to be “Santa Claus” and her “best friend” through her family’s Ring system. A hacker broke into a Florida family’s system and yelled racist remarks at their son. These incidents go beyond inconvenience; they are personal violations and likely traumatizing for the victim and their entire family.

The issue arose from users who reused passwords that were already exposed in data breaches. Criminals can find previously hacked account information all over the web. Maybe users assume that other people cannot connect to their devices over the internet? Always assume: If it can connect to the internet and/or if you can access your services via the internet, so can others.

When you get an internet-enabled device, be sure to look up how to update the default password. Choose something unique and strong. Use our Four Steps to a Stronger Password methodology to build a password you can remember.

Step 1. Pick a long phrase: cruise ship vacation

Step 2. Capitalize the second word: cruise SHIP vacation

Step 3. Add a number and a symbol at the front: $7cruise SHIP vacation

Step 4. Remove spaces: $7cruiseSHIPvacation

Phrase: cruise ship vacation

Password: $7cruiseSHIPvacation

password recipe cruise ship

Of course, you can also use a password manager to generate a unique, strong password and then store it in your password manager, too. Use the built-in password manager on your smart phone. Apple has Keychain and Samsung has Samsung Pass. However you choose to do it, protect your accounts with strong and unique passwords.

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