June 8, 2018 at
The hacking of unsecured IoT devices continues. In the latest incident, a mom from South Carolina noticed that her baby camera is moving on its own, spying on her family, and closely monitoring the spot where she usually breastfeeds her son.
The hack of a baby monitoring camera
When they think of hackers, the first thing that usually comes to mind is some sort of highly-skilled cybercriminal that is trying to obtain some top secret information from the government or a shady company. What you do not think is such a person using their skills to spy on a 24-year-old mom from South Carolina and her family via the baby monitor camera. However, this is something that still happened, and has made this family both angry and terrified.
Jamie Summitt from South Carolina recently discovered that her baby monitor camera is moving on its own, watching across her family bedroom. The camera involved in an incident was a FREDI wireless baby camera monitor which can usually be obtained for as little as $34. The camera resembled a puppy dog, and she got it from Amazon. This kind of cameras can usually be controlled through the app on your smartphone, can turn 360 degrees, and are a handy way of checking up on your baby during their naps.
What was not expected is that someone can hack into this camera, and use it for spying on an infant and its mother. Jamie has stated that she regrets not researching the possible implications of getting such a device, since the thought that they can be used in this way never even crossed her mind. After all, it is a safety device. She continued to warn others who might have a camera like this to dispose of it and avoid suffering the same.
Jamie Summitt’s story
According to Summitt, she woke up and noticed that her camera was pointed at her bed, instead of the baby. At first, she thought that her husband had repositioned the camera in order to check up on his family. However, later on during the evening, during the supper, she got an alert on her smartphone app, that notified her that the camera is moving again. Since her husband was with her at the time, she quickly realized that it couldn’t have been him. Instead, someone else has been controlling the device.
Through her smartphone app, she noticed that the camera was turning once again towards her bed, and then stopping. After the hacker found the bed empty, the camera moved back towards the baby’s bassinet. The first thought in her mind is that the app was haunted. Soon, however, a much more likely explanation came to mind, and the family realized that they are being spied upon by a hacker who took control of the camera.
Jamie quickly disabled the device, and did a little research online, only to discover that hacks like these are pretty much a common occurrence. In shock, she stated that it is not a common knowledge that things like this tend to happen, and that this incident came without any previous warning.
She wrote a Facebook post about it, warning others to keep an eye out for a similar event. She also stated that she feels violated and that she now realizes that this might have been going on for days. More importantly, she fears that a stranger might have spied on her during the intimate moments with her child.
Afterward, the family informed the North Charleston Police Department of the incident, but when the police officer plugged the camera back in, wanting to see what will happen – the app locked the family out. Instead, they received a notification of ‘insufficient permission’. Summitt believes that this has happened because the hacker heard the family talk, and might have even seen the officer.
The camera manufacturer has yet to respond
After all of this has transpired, the family tried to get in contact with the manufacturer of the camera, but nobody responded. They got the company’s email and phone number from Amazon, after explaining the situation. However, the number was out of service, and the email did not receive a response.
Summitt then changed the password, which was the right thing to do, according to Tod Beardsley, the director of research at Rapid7. Two years ago, it was Rapid7 who pointed out that the baby monitors have serious security flaws, and Beardsley stated that it is disheartening to see that these issues have still not been taken care of.
Tech-savvy people might be aware of how easily IoT devices can be hacked, but it is clearly not a common knowledge to everyone. This is why it is important to share the awareness of this and notify as many people as possible of the dangers that such devices are accompanied by.