(DATA DOCTORS) -- The Ring doorbell is an extremely popular device that millions of households around the world have installed for security purposes. Because it's so popular, it's also the constant focus of security researchers.
Q: How can I tell if my Ring doorbell has the update that protects me from the latest vulnerability?
A: The most recent vulnerability involves your Wi-Fi password. Your Ring doorbell can broadcast that password in plain text (http:// instead of https://), which could technically allow anyone nearby to capture it and access your home network.
Once a malicious user has access to your home network, they're essentially in the front door and can potentially access sensitive information or other devices connected to your network.
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While broadcasting the password is only possible during the initial setup process, researchers point out that fake messages to the user could trick them into thinking that they needed to reconfigure their Ring device. It's not hard to figure out which homes have the doorbell.
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While from a technical standpoint, this could have been a major issue, it's not likely that anyone who knew how to exploit this security hole would bother with such a random set of variables.
This type of vulnerability is generally referred to as "proof of concept." It's usually reported by researchers who can demonstrate the potential danger in a controlled laboratory setting that often has a minimal resemblance to real-world scenarios.
Despite the low likelihood of this issue being exploited, the researchers reported it to Ring before publicly disclosing it so the company could take action.
"Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously," a Ring spokesman told Arizona's Family in an email Monday. "We rolled out an automatic security update addressing the issue, and it's since been patched."
Updates to hardware are generally done through "firmware," which is software specifically designed to control hardware devices.
Is my doorbell up to date?
Ring doorbells are set up to install updates automatically, so your device should already be protected. To be sure, though, here's how to check for yourself.
• Open the Ring app and select your Ring device.
• Click on "Device Health" near the bottom of the app.
• Under Device Details, find Firmware.
• If your firmware is up to date, it will say "Up to date." If there is a number, your firmware needs to be updated.
When Ring devices are in the process of updating, the light surrounding the button on the device will generally be flashing. When this is happening, make sure not to press the button.
What's connected to my Wi-Fi?
This issue is an example of how any device you connect to your Wi-Fi can potentially be exploited to allow unauthorized users to access your entire network. You should routinely check to see what devices are connected to your network. This is easy with an app called Fing.
Make sure you're connected to your network, then go to the "Devices" section of the app and tap the refresh icon in the upper right corner to have it scan your network. Fing will give you a list of devices with various identifiers. If you don't recognize something on the list, you can do a Google search with the technical information that appears in the app or post a question in Fing's user forum to help identify the device.