Baby monitors have evolved from simple one-way radio communications based on older radio waves to highly evolved IP based, internet-connected cameras that can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet. Back in the day, when cordless phones were 900 MHZ, it was common to hear someone else's conversations on your own phone or easy enough to eavesdrop on anyone's call with a store-bought scanner.
Today's baby monitors suffer a similar fate. While it's all wonderful for a parent who wants to check out their little Johnny from afar, there are security issues with wireless technology if not properly locked down.
CBS New York reports, "The Gilberts, a family in Texas, found that a hacker gained access to their video baby monitor and was yelling at their 2-year-old daughter by name, having read it off her bedroom wall. 'He was saying, "Wake up, Allyson, you little (expletive)," said the girl's father, Marc Gilbert. 'It felt like somebody broke into our house.'"
Scary.Out of the box, most of these wireless technologies that allow people to control various home appliances from their smartphones are generally secure. However, in some cases, software or firmware may need updating if vulnerabilities are found.
- Always check with a device manufacturer's website to ensure the latest software/firmware or critical updates are installed or available to install.
- Most wireless vulnerabilities start at the home/office wireless network and not on the devices themselves. It is essential to encrypt wireless with at least the WPA standard built into your router's software.
- Just like you need to encrypt wireless for your home/office network, you also need to encrypt wireless on public or free networks to protect the data on your devices. Hotspot Shield VPN is a free VPN option that encrypts all wireless communications.
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