Hacked Baby Monitor: A Strange Man Was Screaming At My Baby

One Ohio couple woke around midnight to find their daughter's camera had been hijacked.

screen grab from Fox 19 report
screen grab from Fox 19 report
by Melinda Carstensen

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 Schrecks’ break-in isn’t the first to be reported, and it likely won’t be the last. Another couple in a suburban Houston, Tex., home reported a similar hacking last fall. A European man screamed profanities at their 2-year-old daughter through their baby monitor.

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.
JanS April 27, 2014 at 11:07 PM
Looks like Wheaton will be buying "smart meters" for water as well.
JOHN DEMPSEY JR. April 28, 2014 at 08:37 AM
It looks like people never saw Big Brother coming . Now he and his even more evil siblings are in your home . Legislation must catch up to technology which is moving so fast we may never be able to reverse it.
Sean G. April 28, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Libertyville has smart water meters. I was told by the village that I should have received a letter explaining the new meter. I did not get one. Did anybody else get a smart water meter without a letter?


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