Is Your Baby Monitor Secure?

A nanny was going about her day caring for a baby in Houston, Texas, on Monday when she says she heard a “strange” and “creepy” noise coming from a security camera above the child’s crib. Ashley Stanley told KPRC-TV Texas that she heard some sounds while changing the diaper of a 1-year-old little girl in her care, before quickly realizing that the noise was actually a man’s voice — and he began commenting about what was happening inside of the bedroom. “I kept hearing this strange noise from over there by the crib,” Stanley said. ”They kept telling me that it’s a cute baby and, ‘Wow, that is a poopy diaper.’” The voice also recommended that the family put a password on the camera.

In April, Adam and Heather Schreck told Fox 19 that they woke up at midnight to the sounds of a man yelling at their daughter, Emma, and were surprised to find their Internet-enabled baby monitor moving -- even though they were not the ones moving it. This is not the first time something like this has happened. In August, Marc Gilbert of Houston, Texas, told ABC station KTRK that he heard a man yelling “Wake up, Allyson, you little (expletive),” through a baby monitor to his two-year-old daughter, whose name was spelled out on the wall. (It turns out that the baby could not hear the stranger; she was deaf and her cochlear implants were turned off).

Wireless baby monitor cameras are incredibly insecure. Rather than connect to a home network, they simply broadcast a wireless signal with a range of a few hundred metres to a dedicated receiver. Older analogue cameras don’t encrypt or password-protect the signal in any way, although you can switch to a different wireless channel to avoid interference. That means anyone with the same type of camera can simply wander the streets with a receiver, switching channels until they find a wireless signal they can watch. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about this, other than throw the camera away and buy a more secure model. So if this sounds like your set-up, it’s time to go shopping.

If you have a baby monitor or any home monitoring system, make sure you have changed the passwords to something difficult to decode.

NBC News

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