By Scott Stump

A Mississippi mother says her family’s Ring security camera being hacked has been a “terrifying” experience and the company is not doing enough to protect consumers.

A Mississippi family has filed a lawsuit against home security company Ring after saying someone taunted their 8-year-old daughter last month by hacking a camera set up in their children’s bedroom. The LeMay family, as well as Texas couple Todd Craig and Tania Amador, are claiming in the lawsuit that similar incidents have occurred across the country and that the company isn’t doing enough to protect consumers. “It was the most terrifying experience in my life,” Ashley LeMay told Gabe Gutierrez on TODAY Thursday. The LeMay family released chilling video from their Ring device last month that showed a man speaking to their daughter. “I’m Santa Claus. Don’t you want to be my best friend?” he says, prompting the girl to scream for her mother.The hacker also told the little girl to break her television and mess up her room. “It was … from a horror film, and I just thought this couldn’t be real,” LeMay said. “There’s no way this is real right now.”

The lawsuit claims that similar incidents have occurred in at least five states. A Florida family told NBC affiliate WBBH last month that someone yelled racial slurs at their 15-year-old son after hacking their Ring device. LeMay bought two Ring devices in November and installed the cameras so she could keep an eye on her children while she was at work. “And as a mom of girls, a parent of girls, you always think about things like this,” she said. “And to know somebody was watching my daughters in their room, that is my biggest nightmare.” LeMay and the other customers in the lawsuit claim they created unique and complex passwords but still ended up getting hacked. They still do not know who hacked them or how the system was breached.

“Our investigation showed no evidence that our systems or network were compromised,” Ring told NBC News in a statement. “We believe that bad actors used stolen or leaked usernames and passwords to log in and gain access to some customers’ devices.

“Ring takes device security seriously, and we will continue investing in our systems and technology.”

Craig and Amador said their Ring device was also hacked and that they heard a disturbing voice threatening them and asking for ransom money. “I did hear from the other room someone shouting, ‘Pay 50 bitcoin or you’ll be terminated!”’ Amador told Gutierrez. ” I know ‘terminated’ meant to me that they were about to try to kill us if we didn’t provide this money.

The plaintiffs’ attorney says Ring is wrongly trying to blame consumers.

“This was sold and is marketed across the country as a security system, and in fact it’s a backdoor to allow people into your home,” Hassan Zavareei told Gutierrez. “They get their addresses, have access to archived video tapes, they may have been watching them for a long time.”

“That’s terrifying to me,” LeMay said. “They have my address, they know that there’s four little girls that live there, and that’s terrifying.”

Ring confirmed to NBC News that it will make two-factor authentication the default setting on its new devices, which security experts say makes it harder for them to be hacked. Two-factor authentication is currently an optional setting on the devices.


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