Amazon's Ring adds new security features amid criticism

Amazon's Ring adds new security features amid criticism
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Amazon's home security outfit Ring rolled out two new privacy and security features on Tuesday amid rising scrutiny on the company.

Ring will add a second layer of authentication by requiring users to enter a one-time code shared via email or SMS when they try to log in to see the feed from their cameras starting this week.

The company which sells the popular Ring doorbell is also giving users the ability to opt-out of sharing information with third-party service providers.

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Ring also shared some best practices — such as not reusing passwords and keeping email info up to date — in its blog post announcing the new features.

The doorbell surveillance system has been under fire as its products have been installed in an increasing number of homes.

Ring was sued in December by a California man alleging the company had not taken proper steps to protect the privacy of its users and the security of its devices.

Until recently the company did not notify users when their accounts had been logged in to, meaning that hackers could have accessed camera feeds without owners being aware.

Multiple people have come forward saying their Ring cameras have been hacked in recent months.

The company is betting that new features such as login notification and required two-factor authentication will curb those incidents.

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For many critics, however, the changes don't address Ring's biggest vulnerabilities.

Evan Greer, deputy director of digital rights organization Fight for the Future, told The Hill in a statement that despite the changes, "Ring remains insecure and plagued with issues."

She pointed out that the company is allowing Ring owners to use emails as their second authentication factor and that it does not require strong passwords.

"[T]he reality is that even if these security issues were addressed, it would do nothing to protect the safety and basic rights of the millions of people who get swept up in Ring camera owners' footage," Greer continued."No amount of security updates will change the fact that these devices are enabling a nationwide, for-profit, surveillance empire. Amazon Ring is fundamentally incompatible with democracy and human rights."