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Smart doorbell owners saw video from other houses thanks to a weird bug

Sometimes the wheels can just come off this whole internet of things… thing. When cameras are talking to the cloud, there’s room for them to make mistakes, and these devices are filming pieces of your private life so that can be a little worrisome. Unfortunately, some owners of the Ring Doorbell Pro recently experienced just this sort of mixup when the “smart” system showed them video of visitors outside — only it wasn’t their own home that the feed was coming from. They were getting video from other Ring users.

Now this isn’t the worst thing to have happen security-wise. It’s pretty hard to tell someone’s address from a doorbell camera, so once you come to the realization that you’re not seeing your house, all you’re left with is a video of a total stranger. And for what it’s worth, Ring claims that there were only 10 instances of this problem out of over million “calls” that its doorbells make each day.

Still, it’s the sort of problem that absolutely can’t happen if we’re going to invite smart home gadgets into our everyday lives 24/7. To that end, the company says it’s taken steps so that this weird and semi-creepy bug won’t repeat itself in the future.

We use random numbers to generate a call ID from Ring products. We did a very robust Beta test of the new Ring Video Doorbell Pro on experimental software, and when we moved it out of Beta for the commercial launch, some customers’ numbers were in two different databases. As a result, those call ID numbers were overwritten. We believe, based on all the data we have analyzed, that this caused less than ten instances – out of more than 4 million calls per day and over 84 million calls in total – where video recordings overlapped for Ring Video Doorbell Pro users only. We are in the process of merging those databases so this will no longer occur. This issue only effected Ring Video Doorbell Pro users, not users of our other products, Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Stick Up Cam.


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