Can Your Baby Monitor Get Hacked?! And Other Baby-Related Tech Questions You’ve Maybe Never Thought Of.

Published on: 23/05/2024

As a parent, you want to ensure your child’s safety at all times, even when you’re not in the same room. Baby monitors and other baby-related tech have become indispensable tools for modern parenting. But with the rise of smart technology comes the risk of cyber threats. You might have never thought about the possibility of your baby monitor being hacked, but it’s a reality worth considering. In this article, we’ll delve into the vulnerabilities of baby monitors and other baby tech, providing you with the knowledge to protect your little one and maintain peace of mind.


Understanding the Risks: Can Your Baby Monitor Get Hacked?

The thought of someone hacking into your baby monitor is unsettling, yet it’s a real possibility. Baby monitors, especially those connected to the internet, can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. These devices often lack robust security measures, making them easy targets for hackers. Let’s explore the potential risks and how you can safeguard your baby’s privacy.


Why Are Baby Monitors Vulnerable?

  1. Unencrypted Communication

Many baby monitors use unencrypted channels to transmit data, which can be intercepted by unauthorised users. This lack of encryption makes it easy for hackers to listen in or view live feeds.

  1. Default Passwords

Some baby monitors come with default passwords that are rarely changed by users. These default settings are well-known to hackers and can be easily exploited.

  1. Insecure Wi-Fi Networks

If your home Wi-Fi network is not secure, it can provide an easy entry point for hackers to access your baby monitor.


Real-Life Incidents of Hacked Baby Monitors

There have been several reported cases of baby monitors being hacked. In some rare instances, hackers have spoken to children through the monitors, causing significant distress to families. However, most of the time these hackers are using your device to help bolster their efforts to get into other, more secure devices, by using your device as part of a DDOS attack. A DDOS attack is when a hacker overwhelms a server with unique requests in order to disable it.


How to Secure Your Baby Monitor

  1. Change Default Settings

Always change the default username and password of your baby monitor to something more secure.

  1. Update Firmware Regularly

Keep your baby monitor’s firmware up to date to ensure it has the latest security patches.

  1. Use a Strong Wi-Fi Password

Ensure your home Wi-Fi network is secured with a strong password and consider using a guest network for your baby monitor.

  1. Enable Encryption

If your baby monitor supports encryption, make sure it is enabled to protect the data being transmitted.

  1. Monitor Network Traffic

Regularly check your network for any unusual activity that could indicate a security breach.


The Broader Picture: Smart Toys and Privacy Risks

Beyond baby monitors, smart toys also pose security and privacy risks. A study titled “Playing With Danger: A Taxonomy and Evaluation of Threats to Smart Toys” reveals significant vulnerabilities in these devices. Let’s delve into the findings and what they mean for your child’s safety.


Key Findings from the Study on Smart Toys

  1. Vulnerabilities

Many smart toys have security flaws that can lead to privacy leaks and tracking of a child’s location. Unauthorised persons can control some toys, potentially putting children in danger.

  1. Personal Information (PII) Risks

Smart toys often collect and store PII, which is not always adequately protected. This data can be accessed by unauthorised entities, leading to privacy breaches.

  1. Experimental Analysis

Researchers analysed eleven smart toys and found multiple threats, including physical, nearby, and remote access vulnerabilities.


Threat Classification in Smart Toys

The study provides a taxonomy of threats specific to smart toys:

Physical Access: Requires an attacker to be physically close to the toy.

Nearby Access: Exploitable within Bluetooth or WiFi range.

Remote Access: Allows attackers to access the toy from a distance, often due to weak authentication mechanisms.


Protecting Your Child from Smart Toy Risks

  1. Research Before Purchase

Look for reviews and security ratings of smart toys before buying them.

  1. Secure the Toys

Follow manufacturer guidelines to secure the toys, such as changing default passwords and enabling encryption.

  1. Monitor Usage

Regularly check the toy’s activity and be aware of what data it collects and transmits.

  1. Educate Your Child

Teach your child about the importance of not sharing personal information with their toys.


FAQ: Baby Tech Security

Can my baby monitor be hacked?

Yes, baby monitors can be hacked, especially if they lack strong security measures such as encryption and secure passwords.

How can I tell if my baby monitor has been hacked?

Unusual noises, changed settings, or unfamiliar voices coming from the monitor can indicate that it has been compromised.

What should I do if I suspect my baby monitor has been hacked?

Immediately disconnect the monitor from the internet, change all passwords, and update the device’s firmware. Consider contacting the manufacturer for further assistance.

Are all baby monitors vulnerable to hacking?

Not all baby monitors are equally vulnerable. Those with strong security features, regular firmware updates, and encrypted communication are less likely to be hacked.

What are the best practices for securing smart toys?

Change default passwords, enable encryption, keep firmware updated, and monitor the toy’s activity regularly.

Should I avoid using smart toys and baby monitors altogether?

While it’s not necessary to avoid them completely, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks and take steps to secure these devices properly.

As technology continues to advance, so do the potential risks associated with it. Baby monitors and smart toys can make parenting easier, but they also require careful consideration of security and privacy. By understanding the vulnerabilities and taking proactive measures, you can ensure your child’s safety in the digital age. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve taken steps to protect your family.