Parents in Ohio were jolted awake when all of a sudden a strange voice began screaming through their child’s baby monitor. Adam and Heather Schreck were both sleeping in their home when they heard a man yelling at their daughter. Heather picked up her cell phone to check the wireless video monitor in Emma’s room and was startled when she realized the camera was panning the room without their assistance.
Heather said at the same time she saw the camera scanning the room she heard the man screaming at her 10-month-old daughter saying, “Wake up baby, wake up!” Adam jumped up and ran into Emma’s room and said all of a sudden the camera turned from his daughter and aimed directly at him. The hacker then began screaming obscenities in his direction before Adam could unplug the camera.
The Schreck’s said they were not only confused and worried; they instantly began wondering how many other times had someone, or even this same guy, hacked into their child’s room. Until this point the couple had no idea that a stranger could access their Foscam IP camera without their permission. They felt completely violated.
Apparently wireless devices like these present easy access for hackers to infiltrate people’s homes without their knowledge. Experts in the field of technology say it is important for people to protect themselves by using different passwords for camera and Wi-Fi networks, changing passwords frequently and regularly check manufacturers’ websites for various software updates.
According to a solutions expert for Infinity Partners, Dave Hatter, any type of internet-connected device could essentially be subjected to hacker activity. Once these unwanted intruders get inside the camera of your home they can also access various parts of your life. Although this is a joke for some, more sophisticated hackers use this as a means to get into your network in hopes of stealing your ID or to launch malicious attacks against others, said Hatter.
It is paramount for parents to ensure their wireless baby monitor’s software is updated in order to prevent unwanted visitors. The Schreck family was using a Foscam monitor, which is a popular brand sold in the Irish market. This brand had known firmware vulnerability but had released an update to fix the issue but the family had no knowledge of it. Software updates are designed to protect users against such vulnerabilities.
This is not the first reported incident of this magnitude. A couple in Texas had a similar experience in August 2013. Mark and Lauren Gilbert heard strange noises coming from their two-year-old daughter’s room. When they went to Allyson’s room to check on her they found that their child’s monitor had been overtaken by a hacker; a strange voice was yelling profanities at their baby.
Just as with the Schreck family, the monitor turned in their direction and the intruder started cursing at them before Marc could rush over and unplug the monitor. The couple said the hacker accessed their wireless network, even though it was password-protected. The hacker was able to address the child directly because he had seen her name on a wall decoration which was above her bed.
The voice on the other end of the monitor was calling the child an f***ing moron and saying, “Wake up you little s**t. When the Gilberts entered the room the camera turned to them and the voice called Lauren a b***h and Marc a moron. Marc said they could not see the man’s face but hear his voice clearly. He had taken control of the camera and retained access until the family disconnected it from the wall.
Their daughter, Allyson, is deaf and did not wake up during the horrifying order. The Gilberts said they had no idea how long the intruder had been watching their child and decided the risk was too great. They opted to forego the baby monitor completely and warn other parents about the risks associated with online security.
Adam and Heather were both sleeping when they heard a man yelling at their 10-month-old daughter, Emma. The Schreck’s say they have no idea who the cyber intruder was or how long he had been hacking into their wireless camera. All they know is an outsider gained access into their home, viewed their baby and violated their privacy.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)