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Hacker terrorizes family by hijacking baby monitor

Dec 18, 2018 · 2 min read

Hacker terrorizes family by hijacking baby monitor

We tell kids to stay away from strangers so they can stay safe, but what if the strangers entered your kid’s bedroom without your knowledge? This week, a young family from Texas was awakened by a hacker's voice coming from their 4-month-old child's bedroom and threats that their child would be kidnapped. How can we prevent this from happening to us?

Hackers alone with your child

On Monday night, Ellen and Nathan Rigney suddenly woke up to the sound of sexual expletives coming from their baby’s room. Ellen said that her "immediate reaction was that there's somebody in here, somebody's in my son's room."

When the couple jumped out of bed and turned the light on, the baby monitor camera in their room, which was previously turned off, was also activated. The hacker, speaking through the camera, told the couple to turn the light off. When they didn’t comply, he said “I'm going to kidnap your baby, I'm in your baby's room.” The father ran upstairs to the baby’s room but found him safe and sound.

baby-monitor-iot-hacking-01

That’s when they realized that their cameras had been hacked and the hacker was bluffing. They immediately turned off their WiFi and called the police to report the incident. The family threw out their baby monitors and now use cameras that don’t use WiFi.

Nest, the baby monitor manufacturer, was also notified about the attack. They told NBC News that such attacks could happen if customers used passwords which were previously leaked due to a data breach. They did not, however, confirm that this had been the cause of this specific attack. The company advised all their customers to change their factory passwords to two-factor authentication, and if they notice any suspicious behavior, to contact Nest directly.

How to protect yourself and your child

The Internet of Things (IoT), which includes baby monitors, present many risks. These devices are usually less advanced than laptops or smartphones, which means they have little to no room for antiviruses or any other security features. That’s why it’s important that you take control of your privacy and security:

  • Change the default factory passwords to more secure ones.
  • Where possible, limit the amount of data the device collects about you.
  • Turn these devices off completely when not in use.
  • Regularly update your software and firmware.
  • Use webcam covers.
  • Set up NordVPN on your router so that any devices connected to your network are secure and protected.

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Emily Green
Emily Green successVerified author

Emily Green is a content writer who loves to investigate the latest internet privacy and security news. She thrives on looking for solutions to problems and sharing her knowledge with NordVPN readers and customers.


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