The evolution of technology has made it possible for you to watch your baby from your phone or computer while they are at home in their cot and you are out or at work at work. It allows you the opportunity to monitor the care of your baby and provide you with reassurance, knowing your little one is safe. As convenient as a Wi-Fi monitor is, you might want to know if they can be hacked and what possible security risks exist.
It is possible for your Wi-Fi baby monitor to be hacked, however, it is not as prevalent as you may think. While it is unnerving, the hacker would first need to gain access to your Wi-Fi router before connecting to the baby monitor.
Navigating and understanding what a Wi-Fi monitor is and how it works assists in knowing what can be done to prevent yours from being hacked.
How does a Wi-Fi monitor work?
Reading an article about the intricate workings of a Wi-Fi monitor can leave you feeling overwhelmed and no more knowledgeable than before. The complex computer terms that are used often appear to be a language in itself.
Simply put, Watchful Dad explains that your “Wi-Fi baby monitor is a wireless device which connects a baby camera to the parent unit (monitor/screen) using the Wi-Fi connection in your home.” A Wi-Fi network set up in your house allows various devices to talk to each other without requiring the internet.
For example, you can wirelessly connect your printer to your computer to print without using the internet. The same applies here when using a Wi-Fi baby monitor and any other device (such as your phone or tablet) that connects to your Wi-Fi network.
A Wi-Fi monitor has the benefit of allowing remote viewing through the use of the internet. In order for this to be possible, your home Wi-Fi network needs to be connected to the internet. Then, by logging onto the associated app either through your phone or tablet, you are able to stream from your baby camera.
This is particularly useful if you are out and perhaps want to check on your baby and the babysitter.
A Wi-Fi monitor does not use internet bandwidth if you are within the vicinity of your home Wi-Fi network. Streaming only occurs when the app associated with the monitor is open.
What are the chances of your monitor being hacked?
The risk of your monitor being hacked depends on how you are using it. If you are at home and within your home Wi-Fi network (without internet), the hacker would need to be nearby and be able to “see” the network in order to hack it. They would then need to work out your password (if there is one) and bypass any other security measures to gain access.
The possibility of your baby monitor being hacked increases when your home Wi-Fi network is connected to the internet. While it allows you the freedom of remote viewing, it also becomes a gateway for hackers to target. Hackers are able to access your Wi-Fi network from anywhere in the world by accessing or gaining your passwords. This is easier for them to do if your network is unsecure.
However, this is not isolated to baby monitors as all devices which are connected to the Wi-Fi network (which has internet access) are at risk. The only difference is, some of those devices such as your computer have protective software to minimise the chances. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers build in suitable security features to minimise the risk on a baby monitor.
A hacker is far more likely to hack devices such as your phone, tablet or computer to attain information like passwords and credit card details rather than a baby monitor.
How do I know if my monitor has been hacked?
A baby monitor which has been hacked allows the hacker to use the same features you have available to you. In other words, they are able to pan across the room, zoom in and out as well as use the talk-back feature. Identifying that your monitor has been hacked might not always be so obvious. These are some things you can look out for:
Unusual change in colour or flashing of the LED lights on the camera monitor:
- Understanding how your baby monitor works makes it easier to identify when something is wrong. For example most baby cameras and monitors make use of different LED lights which change depending on use. For example, a camera may have a solid colour LED light when it is being viewed and flashes when it is in standby mode. Seeing a solid LED light when you are not viewing the monitor may be an indication that something is wrong.
- This is the most common indication that your monitor has been hacked and is usually the way a hacker would scare you or your child.
- A camera which is visibly changing direction or changing direction on the app without you doing anything. The position or view of the camera has changed since the last time you used it.
Why do people hack baby monitors?
There are various reasons why people hack baby monitors, with some being more common than others. A hacker may try to gain access to your lives for some of the following reasons:
- These are usually people who are looking for a kick out of scaring you or your child.
- They tend to use the talk-back option on the monitor.
- People have reported threats of kidnapping, use of distasteful names and general taunting often during the middle of the night.
- Some hackers enjoy the challenge of seeing what they can find.
- Unfortunately hacking a baby monitor is one of the easier items to gain access to as it is often risk free.
- A baby monitor can be used to find easy access points to a house as well as the location of valuable items.
- Provide criminals with information about your general comings and goings making it easier to identify a time to break-in.
- Sadly, some hackers use baby monitors to watch people in their personal daily tasks such as dressing or showering also known as voyeuristic tendencies.
How do i prevent my baby monitor from being hacked?
Being hacked is not easy but it is always possible and depends largely on the methods used to secure your private network. These are some of the ways to reduce the risk of any of your devices on the network being hacked:
Make sure your router and network are secure:
- Your Wi-Fi network should have a firewall running
- Using encryption data
- This is a technical way of scrambling the data being sent and in order to understand and decipher it, a specific password is needed.
- One of the most secure ways of doing this is setting up a Wi-Fi network using WPA2 security standards.
- Most devices come with standard passwords which are easy to hack if you have not changed them.
- If your baby monitor has a password, change it before using the monitor.
- Change your password frequently to maintain a secure network.
- Use a variety of letters, symbols and numbers.
- Avoid using personal details
- Check to see if any of your devices have software updates
- These help improve the way your device functions and strengthens security.
- Make sure your device is registered to receive these updates.
- Enabling automatic updates is advisable
Turn your device off:
- When you are not using it, turn your device off.
Although it is possible for your Wi-Fi monitor to be hacked, having any of your other devices hacked is more concerning and advantageous for the hacker. The best way to prevent this and protect your family is to make sure that you have put sufficient safety measures in place.