Ashley LeMay says a hacker was able to speak to her young daughter through the camera

By Helen Murphy
December 12, 2019 12:06 PM
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A mother in Mississippi is speaking out after a hacker allegedly accessed a Ring camera that was in her 8-year-old daughter’s room.

Ashley LeMay tells PEOPLE that she bought a Ring camera for her daughter during a Black Friday sale last month. Less than a week later, on Dec. 4, her daughter heard a strange male voice talking to her through the camera.

In chilling video footage obtained by outlets including ABC News, The Washington Post and WMC-TV, LeMay’s daughter Alyssa can be seen walking into the room when strange music starts playing from the camera. A man’s voice then started talking to the girl.

“At first she was trying to figure out where the noise is coming from,” LeMay explains. “It’s a man’s voice. At first she thought it was her dad; you can see her walk out the door and say, ‘I can’t hear you,’ speaking to her father.”

LeMay wasn’t home at the time of the incident, and her husband was in the garage and unable to hear his daughter, who went back into the room.

Ring security camera hacks see homeowners subjected to racial abuse, ransom demands
Credit: ABC News

According to the Post, the full video shows the male voice repeatedly using a racial slur and telling Alyssa to misbehave. LeMay tells PEOPLE that the voice also tried to convince her he was Santa Claus.

LeMay says her husband heard their daughter yell, “Mommy, mommy!” as the voice continued to talk to her, and he went into the room and discerned that their camera may have been hacked.

“I really thought he was just kidding because that’s my worst nightmare,” LeMay says. “I watched part of the video because I’m like, ‘Surely he’s just messing with me’ — and then I heard the voice and that was all I needed to hear.”

LeMay, who has four kids, says her daughter “was in shock” and “really confused” after the incident.

In a statement to PEOPLE, a Ring spokesperson said: “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,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, when the same username and password is reused on multiple services, it’s possible for bad actors to gain access to many accounts.”

The statement concluded: “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.”

Ring also posted a similar message in a blog post on Thursday.

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LeMay maintains to PEOPLE that she “did have a secure network,” and adds that she doesn’t want to scare other parents with her story.

“There’s many reasons why people have cameras in a child’s room,” she says. “Mine being because my daughter has a history of seizures, that was the main reason I had it. Just realize it can happen to you.”

“The whole point of all this is to bring awareness,” she adds. “It’s not to scare anybody, but to bring awareness.”