An Austin mother’s experience with a Wi-Fi baby monitor this week has the attention of not only the Austin Police Department but also the FBI.
She asked to remain anonymous over concerns about her privacy, but she’s sharing her story in hopes it doesn’t happen to another family.
She and her husband bought their baby monitor over a year ago and changed the password from the factory password.
"It's the type of camera that only connects to your cell phone so you don't have a separate device,” she explained.
They thought they were safe by changing the password. That is, until something strange started happening.
"We didn't have any issues up until two weeks ago. We were up in her nursery and noticed the light was blinking white, which means another user was logging on to see her camera."
Then, on Thursday night, the camera started to move.
"We were sitting on the couch, and all of a sudden the camera started moving through her bedroom,” she said.
They moved the camera back thinking it was a fluke, when the camera started panning the room for a second time.
"Were they watching my daughter? Were they watching me? Why were they looking through her room?” she asked herself.
They immediately unplugged the camera. This time, for good.
"I'm breastfeeding my daughter right now and I breastfeed her in that room. After bath time we take her in there to dress her for nighttime. It’s just really scary.”
It's a terrifying invasive reality that does happen.
Mike Adams is a forensics examiner that often works with local law enforcement. He’s seen these kinds of cases before.
"Pedophiles are the first people we worry about when that happens,” said Adams.
He explained that Wi-Fi monitors are vulnerable in two ways: through the monitor itself and through your internet router.
"They can record it. They can leave the mic open and you'll never know it. They can take pictures of the children, distribute and sell them."
It's possible that's how this family was hacked. Their router was only protected by the default password.
Adams advised that all parents use passwords with upper and lower case letters as well as symbols. That makes it nearly impossible to hack.
In addition, make sure and change the default password to your own password on all your devices, and change them regularly.
For a list of what experts consider “the most hackable” baby monitors, click here.
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