Could my baby monitor get hacked?
A wi-fi video baby monitor, also known as smart video baby monitor, comes with a camera and a corresponding app, allowing you to remotely check in on your baby using your smartphone, tablet and in some cases, your computer.
Smart baby monitors are a useful bit of kit to own as you can look at your little one wherever you are, as long as you have a good wi-fi connection.
However, if the manufacturer hasn't built proper security features in the baby monitor, it could also get hacked and pose a risk your privacy and security.
How easy it is to hack a wi-fi baby monitor
Any product that is connected to the internet without proper security could in theory be hacked by someone with malicious intent, including a baby monitor.
The likelihood of it happening is thankfully still relatively low, but there are disturbing stories of baby monitors being hacked by strangers who are then able to project their voice through the monitor's speaker.
Additionally, footage from hacked baby monitors has ended up on rogue websites, enabling strangers to watch it.
We assess every baby monitor that we test for how they protect your privacy and security. See the smart baby monitors that have passed our tests and performed well overall in the below table.
Table updated January 2021
How can I keep my baby monitor safe from hackers?
Hackers tend to crawl the web to find unsecured cameras, and then exploit them. They may do this for criminal gain, or just for kicks, either way you can protect yourself from this activity.
If you've got a baby monitor that can be used over the internet or one that updates data to the Cloud or any third-party site, here's how to keep it as secure as possible:
- Set strong passwords: Set up your camera with a that isn't a repeat of passwords you've used elsewhere. Do not use any default passwords supplied with the baby monitor as they may already be known to hackers. Make sure your home wi-fi router has a strong password, too.
- Two-factor authentication: Make sure you go the default settings and activate all of the security features available to you, including if it is available. This is a useful extra layer of security.
- Run updates: Check for any security software updates for the camera and app regularly and make sure to install them. In some cases you can enable updates to run automatically.
- Care what you share: Turn off remote access to your baby monitor if you don't need it. Don't leave it open as a little eye in the room when it's not being used.
- Demand better security: Don't be afraid to badger a retailer or manufacturer about the security of a device you are considering. The more people ask, the more security will become their priority.
Are smart baby monitors secure?
1. Arlo Baby
Test findings: Our experts were impressed with the privacy and security of this wi-fi baby monitor.
Results: We couldn't extract any images or video streams from the data or any private information such as the monitor's location.
2. Motorola Halo Smart Crib Projector
Test findings: We found some unencrypted traffic and we also discovered an open port for HTTP traffic.
Results: The security issues were only minor and Motorola immediately fixed them after we had been in contact with our concerns.
3. Owlet Camera Video Monitor
Test findings: Although it fared reasonably well in our security tests, Owlet allows you to use a weak password of just six characters without any other restrictions, such as special characters or numbers. We also found some slightly concerning data privacy issues when setting up the baby monitor.
Results: Make sure you set a strong, unique password for your Owlet account to increase your security. If you're worried about your privacy, possibly choose a different baby monitior instead.
Security cameras are not baby monitors
You’ll find plenty of wi-fi enabled cameras at temptingly-cheap prices on online marketplaces that claim they are suitable to use to monitor your baby.
Don't be tempted to use a wireless security camera as a baby monitor. With Best Buy baby monitors available for as little as £25, there really is no need to do so.
How we test wi-fi baby monitors
Our privacy investigation was a quick snapshot of the vulnerabilities of some popular models, but with more wi-fi baby monitors available to buy now – and many parents potentially unaware of the security issues they could be faced with – we think testing the privacy of wi-fi baby monitors is essential.
For any wi-fi monitor we'll assess how secure they are and check for any vulnerabilities you may need to know about, such as unsecured data or weak password requirements and if any data could be intercepted.
So you can have peace of mind that you're choosing a safe wi-fi baby monitor to help keep an eye on your baby.