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Is a Hacker Watching Your Baby Monitor?

Make sure your cameras are secure.

Published by Claire Broadley

Whether the hacker is trying to obtain images, or simply mess around and scare your child, the threat of an insecure webcam is a serious one, and shouldn’t be ignored.

There are multiple cases of baby cameras and IP cameras being hacked and manipulated remotely.

In some reports, parents have said that they’ve heard hackers actually speaking to their children once they tucked them in for the night. In some cases, images have ended up online.

This is eerie stuff, and if you’ve got any kind of camera on your baby, it is certainly worth checking the points below.

Poorly Secured Cameras are Risky

If your camera connects to the internet, it could be a target for hackers. Whether you’ve purchased a camera branded as a baby monitor, or a normal IP camera, the risk is the same.

The cameras that are most at risk are those with no security, and those that still use the default manufacturer password. It’s very easy to find the default password for most brands online, either by searching for the manual, or looking for lists on dubious websites.

If your camera has no password set, it could theoretically by accessed by anyone.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

In 2014, the risk of poor security was exposed when a Russian website started streaming feeds from 73,000 internet-connected cameras. The website now claims to stream public cameras only.

But websites like Shodan still allow anyone to search with cameras that have critical security problems. In there are still plenty of those.

Choosing the Right Brand

Even cameras that appear secure may have poor coding or out-of-date security certificates. If the security certificate for the camera isn’t up-to-date, that’s a real issue.

Cheap cameras tend to receive fewer firmware updates from manufacturers, which leaves them vulnerable to exploits. It’s worth bearing this in mind when shopping online and comparing trusted brands with relatively unknown ones.

You should also check out a few reviews to ensure your camera is easy to configure. The last thing you want is a complicated interface that makes it difficult to change the password and security settings.

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

Does Your Baby Camera Need to Be on the Internet?

Before IP cameras fell in price, baby monitors were simpler devices with a video feed from transmitter to receiver. They didn’t go online at all.

If you’re privacy-aware (and you should be), consider whether you really need an internet-connected camera for a child’s room.

It might be easier and safer to choose a camera that doesn’t need to connect to the internet to work, even if it’s slightly lacking in other features. Some brands will allow you to run the camera on your internal network at home, without the internet-connected side, which is a good option if you can find one within your budget.