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An 8-Year-Old Girl Had A Terrifying Exchange With A Stranger After He Hacked Her Family’s Ring Camera

"She doesn't want to be in that room. It's really alarming to her that we can't tell her who it was."

AlyssaLeMay knew someone was watching her because the blue light from the Ring camera perched in her bedroom was blinking. She’d wandered in moments earlier, lured by eerie music and strange sounds. Then a strange man said, “Hello there.”

The 8-year-old gasped and jerked her head, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. Confused, she picked up her toys, putting them to her hear, and walked backward across the carpet, scanning the large room she shares with her two other sisters.

Moments later, the man started screaming the n-word over and over until Alyssa responded by screaming, “What? I can’t hear you!”

For about 10 minutes, the third grader was communicating with a total stranger who had hacked into her family’s Ring security camera. The man could see her, talk to her, and had access to a second system placed in her baby sister’s room downstairs.

For at least 10 minutes on the night of Dec. 4, hackers had been watching the LeMay family walk around their home in Nesbit, Mississippi.

After catching the attention of her oldest daughter by playing the disturbing song, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” the man proceeded to tell her to go call her “mommy” a racial slur and demand that she repeat it back to him: “Come on girl, say it with me.”

“Mom?” Alyssa asked, confused. “Who is that?

“I’m your best friend,” the replied. “You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room, you can break your TV. You can do whatever you want.”

Terrified, the little girl yelled at the empty room again, asking, “Who is that?”

“I’m your best friend,” he repeated. “Santa Claus.”

The little girl then left her room, telling the camera, “I don’t know who you are.”

Ashley LeMay, Alyssa’s mom, called that night “her worst nightmare” and wants to know why hackers have been able to target and compromise her privacy. Over the past few weeks, several Ring customers across the country have detailed their own terrifying hacking experiences, publishing grainy videos showing strange voices coming across their systems and telling them what to do.

On Sunday, someone was able to break into the Brown family’s Ring camera in Florida and started making racist comments about their son, calling him a “baboon,” NBC 2 reported. The 15-year-old wasn’t in the room, making his parents think that the man had been watching them for longer than those few minutes.

There’s even an entire podcast dedicated to hackers taking over people’s smarthome cameras and harassing them, which Vice investigated.

The worst part about enduring this hacking, LeMays aid, was that they were unable to protect their kids from intruders, despite her husband being in their own home.

“I was down the street when my husband messaged me, asking if I had been messing with the girls with the Ring,” the 27-year-old told BuzzNazz News on Friday. “I started watching the video on my phone and when I heard his voice and realized it was not my husband’s voice my heart just dropped and I ran back to the house.”

After watching the entire recording, the mother of four immediately called Ring and told the company what had happened. The next day, her family left on a pre-planned cruise. On Dec. 6, she and her husband got an email from the Amazon-owned company informing her that they had detected “unusual activity” on the account. But after that, she says, she didn’t hear anything.

“I’m shocked at Ring’s response,” LeMay said. “I thought I would have 16 voicemails from them when I got home because it’s become such a big deal and it was such a creepy video. I was frustrated they hadn’t given me an update.”

On Dec. 9, an employee assured her that her account had not been hacked, calling it a “data breach from a third party,” asking her about her passwords and her two-factor authentication, and telling her the cameras were secure.

“I asked if at some point they would be able to tell me if this was a targeted attack or who was interacting with my daughter and he couldn’t provide a straight answer,” she said. “Then today we talked with the COO and he told us that our Ring account had been hacked. I’m so frustrated.”

In a statement to BuzzNazz News, the company said their security team had investigated the incident and found “no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise of Ring’s systems or network.”

“Recently, we were made aware of an incident where malicious actors obtained some Ring users’ account credentials (e.g., username and password) from a separate, external, non-Ring service and reused them to log in to some Ring accounts,” a company spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, when the same username and password is reused on multiple services, it’s possible for bad actors to gain access to many accounts.”

After learning about the incident, Ring said it took “appropriate actions to promptly block bad actors” and contacted affected users.

“Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously,” the company said.

LeMay, though, said she and her husband experienced the opposite.

They have no idea who had been watching and talking to their children, if those strangers now know her home address, how much recorded footage they saw after breaking into her account, and if they have done anything with it.

“Tons of thoughts have gone through my head,” she said. “I don’t feel it was a coincidence that I have four girls and they were trying to gain their trust, telling her she could do whatever she wanted. There was a creepy man talking to my kids.

“The video they could have watched right before they live-streamed was my 2-year-old going upstairs and changing her pants and I don’t know who saw that.”

She also can’t help but feel “dumb” for installing the indoor cameras, but she works nights as a medical research scientist and she wanted to be able to watch her girls as they slept and be there in case they needed her.

“My 4-year-old has a medical condition. She has a history of seizures and I can’t be there all  the time,” she said. “I got them so when I am at work and my baby got up I could tell her, ‘Hey, I love you, go back to sleep,’ and she wouldn’t know I wasn’t there.”

Alyssa is still a little in shock, her mother said, and wants to know why a man kept calling her a “bad word” and wanted her to listen to “scary music.”

“She told me yesterday that it’s hard for her to remember the camera’s not there,” LeMay said. “She doesn’t want to be in that room. It’s really alarming to her that we can’t tell her who it was.”

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