As a parent, there is perhaps nothing more frightening than to have your child’s well-being threatened, and when that threat comes from a device meant to help safeguard children (and relieve parental anxiety), the impact can have far-reaching implications. Proving that some hackers out there have no grasp of human decency or compassion, there have been at least two separate known incidents of network-enabled baby monitors being hacked and then used to audibly taunt and yell at the toddlers devices were monitoring. In both cases, the devices weren’t hacked in the true sense of the word, but were exploited through a weakness that is common across the internet: easy-to-find default passwords. The parents, not knowing that the passwords should be changed, left the devices configured as they came out of the box, and the baby-screamers used that opening to perpetrate their irredeemable acts.
What this means for you:
In comparison to the above, getting hacked as an adult seems almost laughable, but when you think about it, it’s just as scary. In case you missed my blog about “ratting” and you aren’t feeling insecure enough about your security and privacy, you should have a read. The lesson hard-learnt here is this: make every attempt to understand all the devices you use, especially the ones that may be safeguarding the security, privacy and happiness of your family. Read the instructions that come in the box, and if they are incomprehensible, get on the internet and ask questions, or grab your nearest tech geek to have them review the device for potential security issues. Don’t take for granted that a device manufacturer (or website publisher, or software programmer) has your security and privacy top of mind when they are making and marketing their product. The lure of profit encourages even the most trusted brands to cut corners on occasion, which can lead to scary situations like the above.