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Man Send Parents A Terrifying Message After Hacking Into Their Wireless Baby Monitor
Jessica
12.24.18

Most parents don’t realize that baby monitors hooked up to wifi can be relatively easy to hack into. This means a hacker can do anything from watch footage of your baby to send creepy messages through the device.

A Houston area couple learned about the vulnerability of their Nest baby monitor the hard way this month when a man gained access to the speakers and sent them a threatening message.

Nathan and Ellen Rigney were sound asleep when someone hacked into their wifi shortly before midnight. The parents woke up to a voice shouting expletives through their baby monitor and threatening to kidnap their son Topper.

Too groggy to process what was going on right away or the possibility of a hack from outside, the couple assumed that there was someone in their child’s room making the threats.

KPRC Houston
Source:
KPRC Houston

When the couple turned on their light the security camera in their room suddenly came on and a man’s voice shouted at them to turn the light off.

“I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room,” the voice said, but when Nathan bolted to his son’s room, he found him safe and sound.

YouTube
Source:
YouTube

That’s when Ellen remembered reading an article about security camera hacking and figured out what was going on.

“We just had to figure out how to get (the Wi-Fi) shut down, and shut down fast!” Ellen said. “I kept telling [Nathan], he’s not in here, somebody’s hacking this!”

Because she was informed about how the technology worked, she knew to shut down the home’s wifi immediately.

After claiming they received no help or sympathy from the manufacturer, the couple ditched their cameras and now uses a non-wifi camera above their child’s crib.

Rigney said: “It’s unnerving and unsettling. Something that is supposed to make you feel better and instead it makes you feel the opposite, it makes you feel invaded and uncomfortable.”

KPRC Houston
Source:
KPRC Houston

Hackers often scan local wifi networks just to see what they can find. Easy-to-guess passwords and older passwords that may have been leaked in past security hacks make it easy for them to access apps and devices on an unsecured wifi network.

The best way to remain safe is to never reuse passwords that were previously exposed in breaches (and remember, millions of people’s data has been breached in social media, banking, and other hacks over the last 10 years) and to change your passwords routinely by using a password manager.

For those with security cameras that can be viewed via the Internet on phones and computers, it’s important to keep software updated and never use default passwords.

This isn’t the first (or the last) baby monitor hack. In fact, a hacker doesn’t even need to be near your neighborhood to hack into your cameras and watch your family. While many of these hacks are simply bad people getting a kick out of sending disturbing messages to children and parents, any unsecured footage can easily be uploaded to the Internet and used to blackmail or humiliate families.

But you don’t need to ditch all your expensive technology if you take the security precautions mentioned above and keep track of new information about how to protect your devices.

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By Jessica
[email protected]
Jessica is a writer at Shareably.
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