If you’re using one of Amazon’s Ring doorbell devices, you should change your home Wi-Fi network password immediately. According to Techcrunch, Ring doorbell devices were sharing Wi-Fi passwords as cleartext—unencrypted text data, essentially—with users’ smartphones during setup. This leaves home networks and any devices connected to them vulnerable to exploitation by hackers or really anyone nearby who knows how to collect such data.
Amazon quietly patched the issue weeks ago but is only just now notifying its users and the general public, so there’s at least the possibility that your Wi-Fi password was compromised. Ring users should change their home Wi-Fi passwords to prevent any unwanted network use or access to your devices and the personal data stored on them. The specific procedure for doing so depends on your router model and internet provider, but finding instructions online should be easy.
Changing your password is only the beginning, though; I also suggest taking some time to reflect on whether Amazon’s smart home products are worth the security concerns. It seems like every few months we’re hearing about how the company’s smart speakers, home security products, or even just Alexa itself may be mishandling—even leaking—your private information.
That’s not to say Amazon is the only company that deserves such scrutiny, but it seems that their products are implicated more often than, say, similar devices from Google, and certainly more so than Apple’s.
These Amazon-owned products routinely undermine the trust of their users, and there are important considerations to make if you want to keep your data safe while your house is decked out with Ring doorbells, security cameras, Fire TVs, and/or Alexa-powered speakers.