PhotoIt's a fact of modern life: any sort of wireless connection (Internet or otherwise) has the potential to be hacked, and the more connections you have, the more vulnerable you are. Here's a particularly creepy example out of Ohio, where an unknown man hacked into a baby monitor to yell obscenities at the child in the middle of the night.

Heather Schreck of Hebron was asleep one night when suddenly, she heard a man's voice (not her husband's) coming out of her 10-month-old daughter's bedroom. “I heard what sounded like a man's voice but I was asleep so I wasn't sure,” Schreck told Cincinnati-based news station Fox19.

She used her cell phone to check the Foscam camera in her daughter's room — the camera was moving, but she wasn't moving it. “About the time I saw it moving, I also heard a voice again start screaming at my daughter. He was screaming, ‘Wake up baby. Wake up baby.' Then just screaming at her trying to wake her up.”

When Schreck's husband ran into their daughter's room, the camera started shouting obscenities at him until the Schrecks disconnected the camera.

A wireless break-in

The unknown hacker managed to break into the system from outside the house. Bear in mind: had he not decided to amuse himself by screaming at a sleeping baby in the middle of the night, the Schrecks might never have known he was there.

Any wireless connection is vulnerable to hacking, but the Schrecks were particularly vulnerable because their Foscam camera had a known security flaw in its firmware; Foscam had released a patch, but the Schrecks did not know about it.

That's one problem with connecting any home system to wifi or the Internet: you can never just install it and forget about it. All require constant vigilance on your part: have there been any recent news stories about hackers attacking that particular system? Has the company, or any tech-security firm, announced the discovery of a security hole and/or security fix?

Just last weekend, for example, news broke that all versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer going back to IE6 contained a zero-day security flaw granting hackers the ability to take complete control of your computer. Bear in mind: IE6 was first released in 2001, and that massive security flaw remained undiscovered [except, presumably, by malicious hackers] until 2014.

Not the first time

Nor was this the first time a hacked Foscam baby monitor made the news, either. Last August, a family in Texas had almost exactly the same experience as the Schrecks: a hacker took control of their Foscam baby monitor in order to harass their infant daughter. (Were these both the same hacker, or is hijacking baby monitors to terrify small children a new fad among sociopaths? Other than the hacker[s], nobody knows.)

If you have Foscam or any other baby monitor/spy equipment in your home and wish to continue using them, you must look for and install any relevant security patches for that system in addition to your regular wifi, and of course make sure you have a strong password for both.


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