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The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that two men were charged with hacking into Ring digital cameras used for home protection and launching fake alarm calls.

These phone calls caused a dozen of armed police responses which the indicted men live-streamed on social media, mocking the police officers.

Details About the Scammers

The case is built against Kya Nelson, of Wisconsin, and James McCarty, of North Carolina, 21, respectively, 20 years old. If found guilty, the pair may face up to five years in jail for breaching the digital devices, plus another two years for aggravated identity theft.

The whole scam lasted for just one week in November 2020 but affected several states across America, among them being Texas, Illinois, and Montana.

The FBI filed the case, which is being prosecuted by the department’s Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section.

How the Pranks Worked?

Nelson and McCarty gained access to the Amazon-owned home security cameras and obtained unauthorized entry to victims’ Yahoo email accounts credentials.

 Then they allegedly determined whether the owner of each compromised Yahoo account also had a Ring account using the same email address and password that could control associated internet-connected Ring doorbell camera devices. Using that information, they identified and gathered additional information about their victims.

The DoJ via Cybernews

Making fake emergency calls, they would alert the local police to send help to the victim’s address, before hacking into Ring devices and transmitting everything online.

In one such case in California, the accused allegedly hacked into Yahoo and Ring accounts belonging to a victim so they could pretend to be children who felt threatened in the presence of drunken, gun-toting parents.


This is not the first case of a crime involving cameras made by Ring, in a recent incident an innocent woman was nearly shot after another fake alert.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a public warning advising users to choose strong passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) to avoid such events.

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Andreea Chebac

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Andreea is a digital content creator within Heimdal® with a great belief in the educational power of content.