It seems like there is no escaping from privacy issues for the Amazon-owned Ring Neighbors app. As per the latest report by TechCrunch, a bug in the app exposes precise locations and home addresses of anyone posting on the platform.
This is a very serious issue and is the last thing that you expect from a security tool. FYI, Ring is a video doorbell and home security startup. It was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion.
Back in 2018, it launched the Neighbors feature on its own app. Notably, this feature helps users to alert their nearby residents or neighbors about any crime or public safety issues in their community.
While the public posts on the Ring Neighbors app are anonymized, a new bug made all the data of users public. Sensitive information including user’s latitude and longitude and their home address were retrieved from Ring’s servers.
One thing to note here is that the exposed data was not visible to anyone using the Ring Neighbors app. However, the data from posts of users who reported crimes were extractable due to the bug on the Ring Neighbors app.
And since every user post on the app is tied to a unique post number, an attacker can combine all this confidential info with unique post numbers to interpret locations.
Ring has fixed this bug, and it reports no evidence of data being used maliciously
The Ring Neighbors app is a social networking platform like Nextdoor and Citizen. By the end of 2020, the Ring Neighbors app has around 4 million public posts.
While this is not the first time, Ring is making headlines for privacy or security issues. Back in 2020, the Ring Android app was allegedly found spying on users.
Last year, Gizmodo also found a similar bug on the Ring Neighbors app. It revealed hidden location data, which allowed mapping thousands of users across the US.
Good thing is that Ring has fixed this bug as soon as they were made aware of this issue. Ring spokesperson Yassi Shahmiri stated that the issues were fixed and there is no evidence of data being used maliciously. That's a sigh of relief for users.
The company is currently facing a class-action suit by several people for failing to stop the camera hacks. It has also faced criticism because of the Neighbors app law enforcement partnerships.
Meaning that it allows Police to make posts on the platform and make use of the app as an online portal to collect footage uploaded via posts by users.