“Wake up baby! Wake up baby!”
The recent plight of the Texas parents whose baby monitor was somehow invaded by a stranger is a strong reminder to parents to pay more attention to security.
A Washington mom heard voices from the webcam in her baby’s nursery and was horrified as she found out the camera was following her. They later found out that their stream, along with many others, were being broadcast to at least 15 countries.
These are serious security threats that can easily endanger our family’s lives. Parents must be well-informed of the dangers of allowing their feeds to be floating around the Internet unprotected and unencrypted.
Is Your Baby Monitor Safe?
If your recent purchase did not require you to set a password and uses Wi-Fi, there’s a big possibility that a security breach is just around the corner. Your baby monitor’s sole purpose of keeping you updated on what’s going on in the nursery while your baby is asleep might compromise your family in a way you would never have thought possible.
It’s alarming how baby monitor consumer reports do not mention security despite discussions of the Wi-Fi capabilities and being able to watch the feed from smartphones and iPads. Baby monitor reviews talk about features that make life easier, but security is not discussed at all.
The question remains: Is your baby monitor letting you sleep with peace of mind at night, or is it the reason you’re up all night?
If your answer is the latter, it’s time to scrutinize the security feature/s of your monitor. Find out as much as you can regarding its privacy features, and take precautionary measures seriously.
If you have a baby monitor with camera, it may be wise to always check your monitor for the following:
1. Does it connect to the Internet?
2. Are my feeds transmitted to the network, and then back to my screen/ smartphone?
3. Did it ask for a password?
a. Yes – Did I use the default password? Did I change it to a strong one?
b. No – Is it supposed to?
4. Is my Wi-Fi password-protected? Is my password strong enough?
5. Does it use digital and not analog technology?
If you answered mostly yes, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that yes, your wireless baby monitor is one of those that can be hacked. It’s connected to the web that is simultaneously accessed by millions of users each day, and with your feed floating around, it’s not impossible for it to be snatched and viewed. The good news is that you can easily prevent this breach if you paid more attention to encrypting your feed, and securing your connection using strong passwords instead of the default ones.
Default passwords are the easiest to guess, placing your network at an extremely vulnerable state. Thousands of parents have made the mistake of keeping the default passwords and placed their family’s safety at risk. Unless you want your baby’s feeds broadcast to networks reaching China, Russia, Lithuania, or any part of the world you haven’t even heard of, you might want to reconsider NOT changing default usernames and passwords.
Keeping Them Out
There are a few relatively easy steps you can take to ensure these crooks stay out of your household using your video baby monitor.
1. It helps to know more about these ‘hackers,’ so find out as much as you can how they’re doing what they do, and what exactly it is that they’re doing. These crooks have found a way to access a family’s video baby monitor and control it remotely through the network. How safe are you as a target for them?
2. Digital is preferred over analog models. If you keep your home Wi-Fi network secure, it’s easy to keep your digital video baby monitor just as secure. There may be a price tag attached to this, but it’s worth every penny keeping your family safe from attackers. Analog systems, on the other hand, are transmitted in a less secure environment, and will compromise your feeds more easily.
3. Encrypt. We cannot reiterate this more. Secure your connection by encrypting it. Use the highest encryption method available for your Wi-Fi network and your camera. Create strong passwords that no one is likely to guess easily. Shy away from the default ones- even in your home router. Keep a list of the long passwords in a safe place, and make sure to modify them every now and then.
4. Learn about Firewall. Firewall is your best bet in keeping strangers from entering your private home network. Protect your privacy and secure your network with a strong Firewall. It may be a bit too techy to handle for most of us, but you can hire a professional for help and proper installation.
5. Hide your SSID. This is the name of your Wi-Fi network and hiding it gives hackers no room for breaching your system. It’s as simple as this: if there’s no network to infiltrate, there’s no hacking that’s going to take place. Keep them guessing what you would name your Internet connection, and it will take them decades to even get to the password part. They’ll leave you be if it’s going to take them that long.
Vigilance Is Key
It is every parent’s responsibility to ensure their family’s safety. It is natural for us to want to be sure that even when our young ones are sleeping, they are away from harm. In this new age of technology, it pays to be extra vigilant.
Keeping these crooks away requires more than just expensive devices- it requires presence of mind and keeping our eyes open from any possible harm or invasion of privacy. Whatever the reason of these intruders may be, we must be open to any possibility and be prepared. Any baby monitor with a camera or wireless baby monitor is at risk of being invaded, so we as parents should not miss a moment to make sure our family is safe.