Are you among the thousands of people using baby video monitors? If the answer is yes, then you must be aware of some of the issue raised in the news recently. There has been reports that several baby video monitors were hacked and used by hackers to talk to the children and view them. Hackers proved this by broadcasting some of the footage on several websites. This action has brought panic among several nurseries who readily use them on a day to day basis. Although this is concerning there are things that you can do to stop this from happening. Read on to find out what can be done to improve your video baby monitor security.
To ensure security of baby video monitors, you must first ensure all online services are secure. The hackers in the UK must be collaborating with other people from others nations as footages from the UK baby video monitors were broadcasted live on a Russian website. This action has brought tension among people whose monitors have been hacked. Their hacked monitors show all activities in their homes particularly in their baby’s bedrooms, with a recent stream showing a child’s bedroom in Birmingham.
This has become not only a parent’s concern but something that has worried the whole IT industry. Several IT Security companies have demonstrated how this is possible. Different baby monitors were tested and it seems to be that hackers used the same method to gain access to them.
Ways of accessing baby monitors:
If you own one of these baby monitors, then it is worth knowing how these monitors have been compromised. The main way that hackers compromised these monitors is because it never asks for a password in their default installation. Anything that is connected to the internet without log in passwords mean they can be easily accessed by anyone who knows their default passwords.
Mostly, the baby video monitors are accessed via an application on a smartphone or even a website. More so, the default passwords are published on the internet, mainly to help consumers who may have forgotten the password, but also hackers are publishing the details to allow other hackers to take advantage of the situation.
The frightening part of this news story is that these monitors were used by hackers to monitor their owners activities and even to talk to the children. This was a case in the state of Washington. KIRO TV reported that a US woman, whose identity was withheld for personal security complained to them about how their wireless Foscam IP camera was hacked. She said her son complained to her about voices in his room but she never took it serious at first, as she assumed those were voices from outside. It was not until when she heard a woman’s voice from her son’s room that she had to check it out.
She got shocked realising that the voices were actually coming from the camera. Someone had hacked their system and had been talking to their son for a month. The voices could tell her son when his father was coming to his room and when his mother was also coming to his room. The hackers had taken full control of their wireless Foscam IP camera twisting it to any direction they want to see. However, they could only talk to the child but he couldn’t talk back.
KIRO 7 reporter, Kevin McCarty explained that it possible that the system was hacked after hearing from the wireless Foscam IP Camera Company. The bad thing is that it was not possible to tell whether the hacker was someone from within or even outside the country. This was so because these cameras are controlled with an application. Such application are compatible with not only smartphones but also laptops. However, there was nothing that could be done by then other than uninstalling the camera from their home.
Another family in the same state was surprised to hear creepy music from their Foscam baby monitor. The only thing you can do in such cases is to check which IP addresses have been accessing your Foscam. This will help you determine whether or not your camera has been hacked and being controlled. Each logon to the camera is logged so in the first instance you should check if someone has been logging onto your monitor at unusual times. This will help to ensure your home has not been breached and all your activities are being monitored.
The family, living in Minnesota that looked at the log files and they discovered that the IP address used to access their camera came from overseas, Amsterdam to be specific. The site used to access their home camera had thousands of streams coming from many other cameras from as many as 15 countries. This site was later discovered to be Insecam.com which has been streaming footages of many private Foscam IP cameras. All these cameras had a default password which allowed intruders access to them. The site has reported more than 152 countries which have been affected. Intruders are able to spy people’s offices, swimming pools, restaurants, bars, shops, swimming pools and gymnasiums.
This raised an alert to Foscam Company concerning the security threats caused by their default password camera modes. They started manufacturing new cameras which could allow users to change the default passwords to their own personal passwords which could only be known to themselves. This made it hard for those hackers who only accessed the cameras through their default passwords. However, as noted by the Washington family, they had set passwords and even usernames but this never protected them. The couple claimed that their camera had a username and a password but was still hacked.
Are you thinking of doing away with the Foscam camera system and maybe installing another baby video monitors for your home? Then you must be very keen. Many other cameras have also been reported to be exploited by voyeurs with a recent case in Kansas. This shows that almost all the baby monitor system are very vulnerable to hacking. A US mother, Megan Klaassen, reported that her summer infant brand wireless IP camera had been hacked. Megan got worried when she knew that someone had been watching over her napping her 3-month old son. KWCH 12 reports that Megan Klaassen had a password on her baby monitor. The hackers must have easily accessed her password through the internet as she uses an open network Wi-Fi connection in her home.
Megan explains how she removed the camera system from her home. She had to return the wireless camera system to the store and got another one without wireless capabilities. She said it is very important that if your home has a Wi-Fi connection, then consider securing the connection with passwords. This will prevent internet hackers from accessing your homes’ internet-based equipment. She farther cautioned all the mums to take the need to secure the cameras very seriously. She stressed the need for passwords and constant checking systems to make sure no intruders have hacked them. However, Megan Klaassen insists that there should be more help concerning hijacking of baby monitors other than just passwords and usernames.
Many families have been unnerved by these privacy intrusion issues. Obviously, no one will feel safe knowing all their actions are being monitored.
The increased hacking incidences have called the help of many security companies. For instance, Paul Ducklin of Naked Security came up with certain security considerations which include:
• IT-savvy: Paul explains the need of consulting the help of an IT friend to check on your system incases you suspect security breaches.
• Passwords: Paul explains that passwords will make it hard for your home monitor system to be hacked. He farther explain that there is no need of replacing your monitor system just because they have been hacked but instead make use of strong passwords.
For strong passwords, consider using both non-sequential numbers and letters. This was a message for all those using webcams and baby monitors from the UK privacy watchdog Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They stressed that passwords should never be names of pets at homes, date of birth nor the names of children. This will only make it easier for hackers to guess what your password is to access your monitor system.
Consider your Wi-Fi routers security
Turn off the wide area network options
Most people will configure their Wi-Fi routers through web browsers. You should start by turning off the wide area network option in either remote administration, remote management or setup via WAN so that your configuration screen will be accessed only from within your home. This prevents anyone on the internet from accessing your Wi-Fi network to hack your monitor system.
Usernames and passwords
It is important to note that usernames are not of great importance. What matters most in protecting your Wi-Fi router is the password. Make sure you have a strong password that will be used to administer the router.
Strong passwords cannot be easily hacked which means that if the router cannot be compromised then it makes it more difficult for the camera to become compromised.
Another good tip is to change passwords on a regular basis. Consider using both non-sequential numbers and letters to make very strong passwords for any of your home internet based systems.
Control over Wi-Fi
Controlling who can access your Wi-Fi network connection will also be of great advantage. There are three Wi-Fi security levels: open (no passwords), WEP and WPA (1 and 2). Among the three, it is very clear that you don’t have to use an open security access level for your Wi-Fi router as anyone can connect to your network. Also WEP security levels sound secure but there are know issues which means it is easy to crack a WEP password within no time. No one will want to have a false sense of security in using a WEP password for their Wi-Fi routers.
Make sure your router is always up to date with the current software. Download the latest firmware for your router from your vendor’s website. Make sure you always access your vendor’s website reading through all the support articles about routers and their security measures. Read about other people’s comments and concerns. Being up to date with the current firmware will help keep your Wi-Fi network strong. This will prevent hackers from breaking into your network to access and change your settings so that they can start monitoring all your activity.
However, caution should always be taken regarding what firmware to download. You will need to know this model number and it is usually on a sticker somewhere on the router. This helps you to download the firmware compatible with your router’s model.
Use a password on your webcam or baby monitor
Most webcams don’t have passwords and neither do baby monitors. However, make sure your webcam or monitor has a password to protect it from hackers. Usually, webcam passwords are difficult to set. One can either check on the vendor’s support forum or else visit the vendor so that they can show you how to set the password. Strong passwords are recommended on cameras.
In conclusion, if you have a baby monitor, then you should consider the following four ways to make them secure:
• For strong password, use both non-sequential numbers and letter which are hard for the hackers to guess. It is risky to use default passwords on your baby monitor as these passwords can easily be found on the internet.
• Keep up to date with software used on your baby monitor system. This will improve the security of your baby monitor system, as updated software will make it difficult for hackers who have been used to the previous software.
• Secure your router, since your router is what is used to connect to the internet, make sure they have strong passwords. Never use default passwords on such devices. Also make sure your router software is always updated.
• Turn off unused connections
Turning off unused access points will help enhance your baby’ monitor. You can also consider using non- internet- based device. Such devices will protect your baby monitor from hacking since hackers cannot access they are connected to the internet.