Amazon-owned Ring delivered a major improvement to users of its security cameras this week. Video feeds from supported Ring cameras can now be encrypted end-to-end, which is kind of a big deal.
It’s an important update, thought the word supported is an important one. Not all Ring cameras will benefit from the encryption update. First and second-generation doorbells, for example, are not compatible. That excludes a big percentage of Ring devices that are currently in use.
Those who own a newer device might be asking “what will end-to-end encryption do for me?” It means that the video feed from your camera will be much, much more difficult for an unauthorized third party to access.
“With End-to-End Encryption, customer videos are further secured with an additional lock, which can only be unlocked by a key that is stored on the customer’s enrolled mobile device, designed so that only the customer can decrypt and view recordings on their enrolled device,” states the announcement on the Ring blog.
Ring’s end-to-end encryption will be an optional feature, so users will need to opt in to take advantage of the increased security it offers. There is no charge for enabling it.
FBI Issued Warning About Improperly-Secured Cameras
Connected devices with audio and video hardware have become popular targets for cybercriminals, both as a point of entry into a network and as a way to terrorize unsuspecting victims.
The latter has become alarmingly common. Last month the FBI issued a warning about these attacks.
End-to-end encryption alone won’t prevent a hacker from accessing your camera’s stream. In many of the cases the FBI investigated the attacker gained access by using credentials that were exposed by a breach.
You should never re-use a password on multiple sites, but that goes double for services as sensitive as the live video feeds from your connected cameras.
As the Bureau advises, you should use a strong, unique password. You should also enabled two-factor authentication if the platform you’re using supports it.
Ring does support 2FA. If you don’t already have it enabled, this document on the company’s website will help you set it up.