Latest Ring app update puts security front and center

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Ring is rolling out a major update to its app to increase security.
Image: Ring

Amazon’s Ring subsidiary is known for its doorbell cameras and smart home security devices. While these might seem like a perfect way to protect your home, things aren’t quite that simple. In the past year, countless reports have emerged that these smart security gadgets are extremely susceptible to hacking.

Fortunately, companies are taking note. Ring teased a major overhaul to its security and privacy settings at January’s CES 2020. Those changes have finally arrived thanks to the latest update to the Ring app. Users will now have better control of their security and privacy settings from an all-new “Command Center” that puts an emphasis on these features.

Enabling Better Security

Starting Friday, Ring began pushing out the major update to its app. It aims to consolidate the various security settings for its gadgets and software by putting them in one easy-to-access place. It’s also adding a few new features that will help users keep their home security set-up more private.

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Perhaps the most important one is the introduction of mandatory two-factor authentication. While this only applies to new Ring owners, everyone should opt-in to the setting. Two-factor authentication requires that users verify new login attempts with a secondary method beyond their username and password. For those who worry about someone hacking their Ring device, the feature all but eliminates the possibility.

Ring is also rolling out an addition called Approval Broadcast. In a statement to Gizmodo, the company describes it by saying, “Users will receive an email letting them know that a new device has logged into their account, and the user will have to manually confirm the new client device before it can gain access to their Ring account.”

On top of these changes, the Ring app is also getting a partial redesign. Its Control Center is far more accessible and makes finding various security settings more straightforward. Although many of them were already available, putting them in one place will help users better understand and control their home’s security.

Step in the Right Direction

Until a major breakthrough is made in the way that Internet of Things (IoT) devices are secured, gadgets like Ring cameras will still be vulnerable to attacks. However, taking advantage of features like two-factor authentication does decrease the possibility of being compromised.

To be fair, not all of the hacking issues are Ring’s fault. Several reports confirmed that a number of last year’s attacks were the result of owners using the same username and password across multiple services. Once they were compromised on another site, hackers were able to simply log in to users’ Ring accounts.

Still, making a move to protect users from their own bad security practices is a good thing. It’s a step of good faith from Ring that will help eliminate some of the skepticism about its products.

For Ring owners, the new app update should be available within the next few days. When it arrives, taking advantage of the new features and layout should be a priority. Those who use smart home security products should also perform regular checkups to make sure that their devices don’t actually become a vulnerability.

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