Globally, security, especially concerning the home, has come under intense scrutiny.
Hackers are targeting products that are meant to provide a sense of safety to gain access to information.
Last year, security flaws in Amazon’s Ring doorbell led to lawsuits amid fear of unhindered entry by strangers into the home.
Baby monitors are no different, as they provide surveillance and have the ability to send in-app messages and notifications to parents.
Baby monitors are not prone to hacks, as most parents do not do enough to put adequate security measures for increased security.
Security vulnerabilities such as a repetitive password across multiple sites and the lack of two-factor authentication make it easy for strangers to gain access to baby cameras in the monitor.
Moreover, most parents just set up the baby monitor without going through specific manufacturer-specific security features.
We’ll be discussing more on baby monitor security and other crucial topics related to the security of your WiFi baby monitor. Keep reading to learn more on how you can utilize the security features on your video baby monitor for more safety at home.
Are Baby Monitors Hackable?
Baby monitors are very hackable, especially if the baby monitor in question transmits signals over a WiFi network.
WiFi monitors are almost like any other internet-connected device whose access and security protocols can be breached by hackers with ulterior motives.
Baby monitors, especially those with multiple cameras like 2 camera baby monitor, could give hackers a sense of details about the house.
Entry points, least active periods when the parents are awake, and other sensitive information are just the details a burglar needs to plan their attack at night.
Here are the types of baby monitors and everything you need to know about each class and the probability of hacking;
1. WiFi Monitors
WiFi monitors are gaining more traction due to the ease of checking the video feed from the installed cameras on the baby monitor.
WiFi-enabled baby monitors usually pack a ton of great features like night vision and temperature sensors.
WiFi-enabled baby monitors have security vulnerabilities, as these monitors run on home networks using FHSS.
Technologies like Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) pose a lesser security risk than their analog counterparts.
However, the actual security risk with WiFi-enabled baby monitors occurs when you have another internet-connected device latched on the same WiFi network as the baby monitor.
Hackers can gain access to the baby monitor and any device using the same wireless router connection with the monitor.
Affected devices could include your TV, phone, and any device using the same home network as your baby monitor.
2. Digital monitors
Digital monitors utilize heavily encrypted signals including FHSS, and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). The high-end digital monitors would use FHSS over DSSS, but both are well encrypted.
Digital monitors that use FHSS are often the best if you want to reduce the risk of baby monitor hacking. Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum makes random changes to the signal’s frequency being transmitted by the WiFi network. The sudden modifications make hacking more tasking.
Smart digital baby monitors are the best choice overall when it comes to reducing security risks associated with hacking. Just ensure you are buying from a brand with an exemplary track record when it comes to security.
3. Analog baby monitor
An analog monitor resembles a walkie-talkie and sports less tech and software compared to its digital and WiFi-enabled counterpart. The signal is open for anyone hacker to gain access once they know what frequency you’re on.
You have a higher chance of getting your analog baby monitor hacked than if it were to be WiFi or digital. If you want better security for your child, an analog monitor is the last thing you should buy.
How Do Baby Monitors Get Hacked?
The first point of contact for most hackers will always be your WiFi network. Once your router has had its password compromised, there could be unhindered access to other connected devices. This is why the first line of security, which is your password has to be as concrete as possible.
Here are the most common ways a hacker might gain access to your cameras and other internet-connected components in your home:
1. Accessing your router remotely
Your router is usually the first point of contact, and administrative access to the router can be accessed via the internet or a Wide Area Network (WAN).
The security settings of most routers would have remote router access disabled unless you decide to make changes.
The settings for remote router access are usually on your admin page under remote setup or allow setup over WAN.
2. Accessing your router locally
This is almost the same as the previous point, with the only difference being distance. Instead of being accessed over the internet, the hacker has to be within the range of your WiFi network. The hacker should also have your WiFi password or plug into your router through an Ethernet connection.
3. Unwarranted access to your router
All routers use a means of mapping known as Network Address Translation to block out unnecessary incoming traffic. Chances of hackers using this means are minimal unless you have changed the original settings to allow for port forwarding.
Can WiFi Baby Monitors Be Hacked?
The hacker has unhindered access to the WiFi baby monitor once the router’s integrity has been compromised.
By compromised, the hacker has bypassed the password and is free to do as they wish with whatever information they can obtain.
Can Non-Wifi Baby Monitors Be Hacked?
Hackers can equally hack a non WiFi baby monitor, but proximity plays a more significant role than internet access in this case.
To hack a non WiFi baby monitor, the hacker has to be situated close to your property to carry out the act.
However, if your baby monitor uses FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) transmission, hacking would be almost impossible. FHSS is a type of wireless transmission technology that alternates its frequency signal between 2400MHz to 2483MHz.
Hackers would find this alternating signal almost impossible to penetrate since it is not on a static level. Plus finding the perfect timing for the signal to be static would only making hacking more sophisticated.
When buying a non WiFi monitor for your baby’s room, ensure you buy one that uses FHSS transmission.
How Do I Know If My Baby Monitor Has Been Hacked?
If your baby monitor has been hacked, there are some developments you may notice, which include;
1. Your baby monitor rotates by itself
If your baby has been compromised, the hacker may move the camera around to get a 360-degree view of the room.
If you notice that the cameras on the baby monitor might have moved from where you last left it, your baby monitor may be hacked.
If you notice this, it might be time to change your WiFi password again to something more complex and harder to guess.
2. Voices other than yours coming from the baby monitor
More like what would happen in a horror film, someone else could be talking to your child through the baby monitor. Most times, reports of baby monitor hacking have involved reports of someone speaking with the child via the two-way talk feature.
3. Changes to security settings in your baby monitor
Most times, shady individuals looking to infiltrate your baby monitor and other internet-connected devices would change the WiFi password to default. Once in a while, check to see that your WiFi settings have not been reset to default.
4. The LED light starts blinking more than it usually does
If the LED light is enabled for notifications, the LED lights would flicker and stop after some time. However, if the LED lights kept blinking at a faster rate and for a longer time. If you notice this happening, the hacker is probably viewing the video feed.
How Do I Make Sure My Baby Monitor Isn’t Hacked?
There are specific measures that parents are advised to ensure that their baby monitors and other devices capable of internet access like a TV are not hacked.
Here are some ways to reduce your chances of your video baby monitor, home cameras, and other devices from being compromised by hackers;
1. Change the default password
It has never been good to keep using the same default password that came with a particular device like a wireless router.
Changing the password of your home network and the login details of your baby monitor’s app is crucial.
Also, make sure you create a strong password following whatever guidelines are given.
One lowercase, one uppercase, one number, and a unique character like a question mark should suffice.
2. Use two factor authentication
Parents should use two-factor authentication. If your password happened to be compromised, there is an extra layer of security parents and guardians should implement. It’s called two-factor authentication, or also known as 2FA for short.
2FA is usually in the form of an email or a text message which is prompted automatically after filling in the password. Without the right 2FA inputted, no one would be granted access to the router or any other account you wish to keep safe.
3. Use a firewall on your home network
Firewalls help establish a barrier between a trusted network and a network with unhindered access like the internet. If you have no clue how to proceed with this, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to send a qualified engineer to set up the firewall.
4. Disable the remote access
Disable remote access to your video feed from your baby monitor. If your baby monitor allows you to access and stream video feed remotely, you should consider disabling this feature when heading out of town. It may be an attractive feature, but it is not advisable when viewing things from a security standpoint.
Enabling remote internet access to a camera to baby cameras to view a feed eliminates a lot of effort that a hacker would have to put in. If you have remote access turned on, the only task left for the hacker is to guess your password, and that’s it—unhindered access to any camera and device of their choice.
5. Ensure your device firmware is updated
Make sure the software updates on your device firmware are the latest version. Failure to carry out software updates may have you missing out on important security updates.
Check your security settings to see if automatic updates are enabled. If not, please enable in your best interest and that of your kids.
6. Know location of camera storage
Find out where crucial information like footage from cameras are being stored. Knowing where vital information is being uploaded is key to preventing security flaws and ultimately keeping your child and house safe.
It is not advisable to use cloud storage, as a breach in whatever cloud storage you use might put you and many users at risk of sensitive information leaking.
Instead, store images, video, and other forms of media on an SD card or some other more secure means which you have direct control over.
7. Turn off baby monitor and sign out on app
Turn off your baby monitor and log out of the smartphone app when not in use.
When heading out of the house, ensure you switch off your router and your baby monitor as well.
If your baby monitor has an add like the Nanit Smart App, log out of the app when not in use.
8. Disable port forwarding on your router
If port forwarding has been enabled by any chance, disable it as quickly as possible. Port forwarding, when enabled, makes hacking into your home WiFi and drawing sensitive information easy.
9. Ask seller about product
Ask the seller how trustworthy products are from the company you wish to patronize. Asking questions could go a long way to save you from the stress of having to worry about the safety of your kids.
Plus, if word got out that parents were continuously asking about the manufacturer and their security measures for their products, each company would be forced to sit up.
10. Make sure your router offers encryption
When purchasing a router, opt for a product that offers encrypted protection. Encryption makes it impossible for hackers to make meaning out of whatever information they gain access to.
Ask for a product with WPA 2 (WiFi Protected Access 2) encryption. WPA 2 is the gold standard for encryption across wireless routers globally. While not being completely foolproof, WPA2 is your best bet as far as encryption is concerned.
11. Disable Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS)
DDNS gives you access to your device remotely, and DDNS is more popular with cameras nowadays. If enabled, DDNS can be a convenient way for hackers to infiltrate your baby monitor and put your child in danger if you are out of town.
12. Disable Universal Plug and Play
Universal Plug and Play is gives visibility to your device when using your local network. When Universal Plug and Play is disabled, you make your baby monitor inaccessible for hackers to take advantage of.
The only downside is that disabling Plug and Play might interrupt the flow of data between your baby monitor and the smartphone app (if your monitor has one).
What Is The Safest Baby Monitor?
The safety baby monitor on the market worth buying would be the Infant Optics DXR-8 video baby monitor.
Equipped with private 2.4GHz FHSS Wireless transmission and Advanced Encryption Standard), this is the best pick for a Hack-proof baby monitor.
What Baby Monitors Cannot Be Hacked?
Despite all the negative stories about hackers gaining access to the video feed of baby monitors and bypassing security features, specific baby monitors are immune.
By immune, hackers have no access to camera images and video feed, thanks to extra security features in these baby monitors.
Below are some of the baby monitors that cannot be hacked;
1. Hello Baby Wireless Baby Monitor
2. Infant Optics DXR-8 Baby Monitor
3. Nest Cam Baby Monitor
Your router is always the first point of contact for hackers to gain access to your baby monitor and other “smart” devices that may also be connected. This breach of security can be prevented via the steps explained above.
A strong password, two-factor authentication, disabling remote access, and setting up firewalls are just few of several security measures to put in place. And always make sure the baby monitor you are buying uses FHSS transmission, as this is your safest option against hackers.