Hebron, Ohio – A couple woke in the middle of the night to every parent’s worst nightmare: a man’s screaming voice coming from their 10-month-old daughter’s nursery.
"He was screaming, ‘Wake up baby! Wake up baby!'" Heather Schreck, told Cincinnati, Ohio's FOX19.
Adam Schreck ran to his daughter's room but found no man. That's when the family's baby monitor began to rotate on its own, and projected the voice of a man screaming obscenities.
The Schreck's baby monitor had been hacked.
Experts say wireless IP cameras like the Schrecks’, or any device connected to the Internet, are not only a window into people’s homes — they're also a gateway into sensitive computer data.
"It's not just that they want to get in and mess with your camera,” Dave Hatter, a solutions expert for Infinity Partners, told FOX19. "More sophisticated hackers know they can use this as a launching off point to get into your network and potentially steal your ID or use your network to launch malicious attacks against someone else."
Wired magazine’s Mat Honan wrote in an October 2013 article that Internet-connected baby monitors can be “terribly insecure, especially right out of the box.”
Although he advised against buying Internet-connected baby monitors, those parents who have them or plan to buy them can follow a handful of tips to keep their families safe:
- Register your product to stay in-the-know on software updates
- Turn on your firewall to create a line of defense against attackers
- Change the default login info on your product
The Houston father, Marc Gilbert, described to CNN his feeling of helplessness during the break-in: "As a father, I'm supposed to protect her against people like this. So it's a little embarrassing to say the least, but it's not going to happen again."
Both couples used a Foscam IP camera. Heather and Adam said they weren't aware of the device's firmware vulnerability, which the company had released an update to correct.
"I was just absolutely shocked to see somebody could get into my house so easily," Heather told FOX19.