Imagine your horror when, after you've assured your toddler night after night that there are no monsters in his room, you walk through his door and hear a stranger's voice stroking your child's innocence.
It's happening. What's worse is that without realizing it, parents are creating cyber holes for predators to slip into their children's bedrooms.
Piecing it all together, Sarah realized that their three-year-old had been listening to this man's disturbing messages for a while. Her son, she recalled, had grown afraid of the "man talking to him" at night.
Sarah and her husband live in fear and, for understandable reasons, don't want to reveal their full names. The predator's whereabouts are still unknown. He could be located next door or halfway around the world. Even so, his eyes were living inside their three-year-old's bedroom.
This monster hacked into their baby monitor, gained full control of the movement of the night camera lens, and was able to follow the parents' movements around the room.
This is not an isolated incident. A Minnesota family
not only had their baby monitor hacked, but the IP was traced to an overseas address, and the video of her child was found on a site that showcases videos of what these hackers find all over the world.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear: keeping children safe within the home has just taken a quantum leap past outlet covers. Unfortunately, cord strangulation and electrocution are the only hazards most manufacturers warn parents about when it comes to this technology.
If you're going to use technology, you can't afford to be unaware. One manufacturer, Foscam, offers these suggestions on its website.
- Never use the default password. Make it a hard one to break. Use upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters all scrambled together. Then store the number on good old fashioned paper, and file it in a safe place.
- Don't use the same password for your wi-fi. Also, most security experts will recommend changing passwords routinely.
- Change the default port. Foscam notes that the default port is the target of choice for hackers, and recommend a port greater than the 8100 range.
- Check the logs of your camera often. The camera on the Foscam monitor comes with embedded logs that will show you exactly what IP addresses are accessing your monitor. You don't have to be an IT expert to immediately recognize if it's not yours. Your address should be the only one on the log.
It's important to remember that this is a new age; precautions are built only after problems are discovered. Make sure your baby monitor has the ability to be modified for security.
Keep in mind, if you can access it on the Internet, so can someone else. Lock it as securely as you would your doors.