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.
It’s a useful piece 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.
But it could also get hacked.
How easy it is to hack a wi-fi baby monitor
As the old saying goes, 'it's easy when you know how'. It doesn't happen all the time, 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, or of footage from baby monitors ending up on websites.
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 up your camera with a strong password that isn't a repeat of passwords you use elsewhere. Do not use any default passwords supplied with the baby monitor as they may already be known to hackers.
- Make sure you go the default settings and activate all of the security features available to you. Two-factor authentication is a useful extra layer of security and worth enabling.
- If you're using your smartphone app as a baby monitor, check the security settings and set a password if you can.
- Check for any security software updates for the camera and app regularly and make sure to install them. In some cases you can enable automatic updates.
- Make sure your internet router or modem is secure (change any default passwords and install updates).
- Care what you share, and 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. If you don't want to switch if off, put a piece of tape over the camera. You don't have to worry, just don't leave yourself vulnerable.
- Don't be afraid to badger a retailer or manufacturer about the security of a device. The more people ask, the more security will become taken notice of. Demand security.
Results of our latest wi-fi baby monitor hacking investigation
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. Panasonic Smart Home Baby Monitoring Camera Kit KX-HN6001EW
Test findings: During our tests we found a vulnerability with the camera that could put your data at risk.
Results: Although the probability is low we felt it's significant enough to let Panasonic know and it issued an update to address the issue.
This camera has since gone off sale and we have archived the review.
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.