Baby Cam Hacked: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself and Your Children

The story about the Texas parents who were terrified when their child’s video baby monitor was hacked struck me at first as a minor incident when viewed in the whole scheme of the world of hackers.  After all, it is a rare event, no one was hurt, no threats were overtly made, and the child herself even slept through the event.  But when I read more about it, I became increasingly bothered by the fact that I was not initially bothered by it!  I mean, is that the creepiest of all feelings, to know that a stranger is watching your kids?

Here’s the summary for those who missed the story.  Marc and Lauren Gilbert were in another room when they heard strange sounds coming from their daughter’s monitor.  When they went into her room to investigate, they realized it was a strange man’s voice coming through the monitor and saying disturbing things, even using the child’s name, which could be seen above her bed.  The child, who was born deaf and had her cochlear implants turned off, slept through the entire incident.  Gilbert immediately disconnected the device, which was hooked up to the home’s wireless Internet system.

It is believed the webcam system, Foscam wireless camera, was compromised.  In April, a

baby cam

For an interview with Fox and Friends, they asked me to consider the following questions.  I’d like to share my answers with you in case you missed it.

How easy is it to hack a baby monitor?

It’s probably an apt cliché to say it’s as easy as taking candy from a baby. Just like with any device, an iPhone, laptop, home Wi-Fi, it’s only as secure as you make it. If you’ve taken no steps, it’s relatively easy to hack. You don’t make the problem go away by ignoring it.

Why would someone do this?

Some do it for the challenge, some for the thrill of controlling other people’s lives, and unfortunately, others do it because they are sick individuals that want to watch what you do in the privacy of your home.

Is this one of the more scary cases of hacking a household device you’ve seen?

This one hits close to home because it takes advantage of our kids, but I’ve seen pacemakers turned off, blood pumps shut down, brakes applied in cars, and all of it done remotely by outsiders who are never even seen. If the device is connected to a network, I guarantee you it can be hacked, and in most cases, you never know the bad guys are in control.

How can we avoid this type of hacking of our personal devices, whether it’s a video baby monitor, an iPhone or a pacemaker?  

The good news is that’s it’s the same steps you probably already take on your other devices, like laptops, smartphones and iPads:

  1. Buy Digital. Only buy a digital monitor that is password protected, not an analog version that operates on an open radio frequency.
  2. Change Default Passwords. During setup, change the factory defaults on the monitor so that the password is long, strong and device specific. This case we are talking about probably had a default password in place, making it easy to hack.
  3. Firewall Your Privacy. Install a firewall between your Internet connection and ALL devices to keep the peeping Toms out. Hire a professional to set it up properly.
  4. Lock Down Wi-Fi. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is locked down properly with WPA2+ encryption and SSID masking so it can’t be hacked.
  5. Turn Devices Off. If you are not using the device, turn it off, as hackers can more easily crack devices that are up 24/7.

John Sileo is a keynote speaker and CEO of The Sileo Group, a privacy think tank that trains organizations to harness the power of their digital footprint. Sileo’s clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security and businesses looking to protect the information that makes them profitable.


Posted by Identity Theft Speaker in Cyber Data Security, Sileo In the News and tagged , , , , , , .

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4 Responses to Baby Cam Hacked: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself and Your Children

  1. Alice: December 2, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    OMG. I can imagine the horror on the parents’ face to find that man talking to the baby over the camera. That must be so scary.

    I was actually doing my research for the best baby monitor to buy. I was actually considering a Foscam model. But now it makes me think again

  2. Claudia: February 10, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Please help, I have just heard a man voice talking to my baby through my iPad ( I use a 3G app) from my phone to monitor her. She has been waking up for weeks now for no reason and now I think I know why!
    How can I make my phone and I pad safe from this????

  3. John French: February 18, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    All good and common sense advice. But, its probably even more scary that some parents don’t know how to change the default password on their Wi-Fi router or baby cam.

  4. Erin Glass: February 21, 2017 at 1:14 am

    My daughter has been waking up every night between 3-4am and coming into our room. She’s always been a sound sleeper, which is why we thought this tobe odd. Last night I woke up at 5am to music playing, a lullaby so I got up to investigate. Come to find out the song was coming from my daughter’s Foscam camera, this is NOT a Wifi capable camera which is making this even more odd. Plus the camera is usually positioned pointing at her bed and it was pointed at the closet which you can do by the separate monitor. We shut off the camera and when we got up this morning and turned it back on the music was stopped (of course). We asked my daughter who is almost 3 if she hears people talking to her at night and she said “yes when I sit up”, we asked does she ever hear music at night and she said “yes”. I’m freaked out, we will NEVER buy Foscam again.

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