You'll never believe how one mom found out her home security cameras had been hacked. Learn how you can help safeguard your security system.
Have a security camera in your home? Then listen up! A Texas mom named Jennifer is issuing an urgent warning to other parents after discovering that her nanny cam had been hacked, and video of her 8-year-old twins was being live streamed online!
Of course, home security cameras can be used for good, but as Jennifer, who didn't want her full named shared, explained to ABC News, when she thought she was protecting her kids, she was actually exposing them to potential danger. "I feel like I've failed. ... People are watching my kids in their home, dressing, sleeping, playing."
It was another mom who lived 2,000 miles away in Oregon who made the discovery that footage of Jennifer's twins was being leaked on the Internet. Shelby Ivie, a mother-of-two, posted a photo of the girls' room in a Houston mothers' Facebook group to try and warn the family about what was going on. She'd stumbled upon video of the rooms when she was looking at satellite images of Earth online with her kids, and downloaded an app called Live Camera Viewer.
Jennifer found out the footage has been streaming online for several weeks at least. The camera was compromised when one of her twins used an unprotected server while playing a game online. "From what I understand, there's tons of unprotected servers out there these kids are going on and basically people are waiting for them," she told ABC News, adding that she's learned hackers likely got their IP address off her daughter's iPad, then found their monitor and computer system, and was even able to access their modem and DVR system, and the cameras in their home.
Chillingly, Jennifer said the footage of her young daughters had 571 likes. Her daughters are no longer able to use the Internet.
We reached out to Monica Eaton-Cardone, the owner of cybersecurity company Chargebacks911 to find out how parents can keep their families safe from hackers. Here are her tips:
- Only use a password-protected, secure server for all home Internet usage. Ideally, you should give your server a name that cannot be linked to anyone's identity – so instead of naming it 'The Johnson Family Server,' name it 'Blue Train 5' or something untraceable. And instead of trusting your kids with the server password, it ought to be something only the parents know.
- Periodically change your server's password and reconnect your devices. It's critically important to routinely change all your passwords. When you do this, you'll need to manually reconnect your devices, including your Internet-connected security cameras. This will make sure that none of the devices are connected to a public Wi-Fi system that's easy to hack.
- Teach your children how to use the Internet safely. Explain to your children why it's so important to only accept game-playing invitations from people they personally know. Children should never accept invitations from strangers, and parents shouldn't let kids play online games without supervision. Teach them never to share passwords or Wi-Fi information. And tell them to alert you immediately if they receive any unusual requests from strangers, such as questions about where they live, or how old they are, or if they have any photos.
- Pay special attention to the location of your Internet-connected security cameras. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a 100 percent secure Internet system. Anything connected to the World Wide Web can potentially be hacked. It's highly recommended to keep your security cameras in hallways, entrances and outdoor locations, and avoid placing them in more-private areas, like bedrooms or bathrooms.
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