Check your passwords on wireless baby monitors: Hacker heckles toddler through monitor

Multiple news sources are reporting a story about a hacker taking over a Houston family’s wireless video baby monitor and saying lewd things to the child and the parents when they came to investigate.

From ABC News:

“When Marc Gilbert and his wife Lauren entered the room, the voice cursed them as well.

The eerie voice — which had a British or European accent — was coming from the family’s baby monitor that was also equipped with a camera. A hacker had taken over the monitor….

As he and his wife  got closer to the room, they heard the voice calling his daughter an “effing moron,” and telling her,”‘wake up you little slut.”

The hacker then began shouting expletives at her parents and calling Gilbert a stupid moron and his wife a b****.”

The parents unplugged the device. The internet company told them to check their passwords for the WiFi.

From CBS:

“Dave Chronister, who is the managing partner of Parameter Security, did not consult the Gilbert family, but works for an ethical hacking company that is familiar with these types of hacks. Chronister believes that the Gilberts were using a webcam, equipped with speakers, that was compromised. …”

“Chronister says that cracking into these webcams is similar to breaking into a website. If a password is not set, or is weak, the website that is used to manage the device can be compromised.

“Parents can protect their homes by setting a strong password. Chronister recommends using Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) to set up a password because it uses better encryption standards and is very difficult to crack, especially combined with a good password.

“Chronister says that these hacks are often times just kids pulling a prank, and warns of a phenomenon called “wardriving” — where people drive around looking for homes with weak wireless security.”

First off that’s just so super creepy. Second off who has time to drive around and hack into baby monitors.

I saw a different report on CNN about home automation and how hackers could control your doors, security system, everything if you didn’t have a strong enough password.

I guess the answer is just parents have to get really serious about their WiFi passwords and their baby monitor passwords so weirdos can’t break into them.

What do you think? Would you still use a wireless camera baby monitor or is that way too creepy? Are you using any home automation software? What’s your security level on those passwords?

16 comments Add your comment

A

August 14th, 2013
6:17 am

Weird and creepy. I don’t think they had these devices 11 years ago when I was dealing with all things baby. We had the normal monitor but didn’t really use it that much except at night. There are definitely some sickos out there, so just be careful with any kind of device that does 2-way communications.

Mother of 2

August 14th, 2013
6:39 am

I, too, wonder who the heck has the time to drive around finding weak wifi. We didn’t have this type of monitor when my kids were little.

Most people are very good about having strong passwords for financial data, but tend to use easy to remember passwords for other things. I guess I’m going to have to use better passwords for just about everything now.

motherjanegoose

August 14th, 2013
6:44 am

No monitors here but I read about the hackers on car lock clickers…sheesh!

Mayhem

August 14th, 2013
6:55 am

Yawn…..zzzzzzz boring….

justmy2cents

August 14th, 2013
7:32 am

Never used baby monitors, and don’t use home automation software yet. However, with my husband and I both in IT, let me suggest pass-phrases, not passwords. Always use uppercase, lowercase, and special characters. Make your a’s into @, e into 3, etc. You can take something very simple such as ihavetwodogs and turn it into !h@v3tw0d0g$!

Seriously?

August 14th, 2013
7:35 am

While this guy was a creep, he didn’t heckle the child. She is deaf and her cochlear implants were turned off. Your headline is a bit misleading.

Young Lady

August 14th, 2013
7:43 am

This is actually just webcam hacking which is not new. The baby monitor in question was basically a webcam packaged as a monitor. I disagree with the consultant CBS had in thinking this is a WiFi crack. That’s not typically how webcam hacking is done. It’s typically done through Trojans. And that’s an issue of computer security in general.

Becky

August 14th, 2013
7:44 am

Never used these things..

@Seriously..That’s the best you can do? It doesn’t matter if the child is deaf, this guy is sick beyond sick..

motherjanegoose

August 14th, 2013
7:53 am

@ Mayhem…your comment ( to me) is along the same lines as looking at someone’s new car and saying, ” You really plan to drive that?” I am reminded of the phrase, ” If you can’t say something nice…say nothing.” Instead of complaining about the topic…wait it out and see.

I obviously do not have a baby monitor but some here might be interested. We shall see. I learned something from justmy2cents comment that I found interesting.

IMHO…if it is noon and there are only 10 responses…you may be onto something :). Over the years, I have been intrigued with the course of the blog as others add different things. Yesterday, a few folks commented on ironing and that was NOT the topic but a friendly ‘over the fence’ type chat.

Techmom

August 14th, 2013
8:10 am

OK, I have to admit that if the dude wasn’t saying bad things, this could be a really funny practical joke (probably b/c I’m the mom of a teenager and not a baby).

Seriously?

August 14th, 2013
9:06 am

@Becky – the first thing I said was the guy was a creep. However, the child didn’t hear a thing. She had no idea anything out of the ordinary happened. I’m sure her parents are traumatized. I’d have burnt the house before I figured out it was someone hacking my monitor. However, the fact remains that the toddler wasn’t really heckled.

hockey goalie

August 14th, 2013
10:05 am

My kid’s monitor has never been hacked. Know why? It’s not connected to the internet! Why is that even necessary?

motherjanegoose

August 14th, 2013
11:49 am

@Mayhem…guess you may have been on to something???? Perhaps those with Baby Monitors are too busy trying to keep their heads above water to frequent this blog.

jarvis

August 14th, 2013
1:31 pm

I don’t believe this story. I think they made it up.

FCM

August 14th, 2013
4:16 pm

@ MJG

I think it is more likely that we all know that Baby Monitors can frequently pick up “other” activity…The “creep” was very rude,obnoxious and out of line. No arguement on that one. It is just that in the scheme of parenting issues this seems to be rather small.

Honestly we trashed the baby monitor early on. My kids’ lungs were great for letting us know if we were needed. I checked on them when I got up at night (in fact, I still do–although more often these days I bust them playing on their phones or DS!).

At one time I could stand in the dark hall and could discern all 3 of the “sleepers” in my house by their breathing patterns. I could even do it if they were all in one room.

These parents are right to find the creep…but they were doing their job. They were checking up on the baby and any odd activity they heard.

SMH

August 14th, 2013
5:38 pm

Aside from the fact that the person was cursing @ a TODDLER, he was also able to look into their home. No one wants that kind of invasion of privacy. It doesn’t matter that the child was deaf. What if she wasn’t? They will probably find out that it was someone who works for the security company. Someone who thought it was funny and will say they didn’t mean to hurt anyone when they lose their job. Of course if the person is caught they will say that anyway. They always say they didn’t mean to hurt anyone when if fact it is JUST what they wanted. I can’t judge them for a baby monitor. @ FCM it is NOT a minor thing to have some possible pervert watching maybe even filming your child.