Standards for Baby Monitors that Stop Them From Being Hacked

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Countless parents use baby monitors for their newborns and young children, so that they can hear and see what's going on in a nursery or bedroom while their child sleeps. But those baby monitors are at an unbelievably high risk of being hacked, and used by hackers to spy on and invade the privacy of families.

The most recent incident came out of South Carolina, where a mom with a FREDI baby monitor noticed that the monitor's camera was moving without her control. The mom told NPR: "I looked over ... and saw that it was slowly panning over across the room to where our bed was and stopped." She went on to tell NPR that hackers moved the camera to the very spot where she breastfed her son.

Alarm bells have been sounding for months on the dangerous risk baby monitors face of being hacked. A research team in March issued findings that showed their team was able to hack into devices like baby monitors with ease -- often only needing 30 minutes to access the devices.

"It is truly frightening how easily a criminal, voyeur or pedophile can take over these devices," said Dr. Yossi Oren, one of the researchers. "It only took 30 minutes to find passwords for most of the devices and some of them were found only through a Google search of the brand. Once hackers can access an IoT device, like a camera, they can create an entire network of these camera models controlled remotely."

This comes on the heels of another study just a few years ago, where security company Rapid7 published a study showing that baby monitors were missing key safeguards that prevent them from being hacked.

"We found that there were, pretty much across the board, some pretty easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities — things that have been already solved in mainstream computing," said Rapid7's director of research. "The fact that there are still no standards around this is a little depressing," he says. "It will keep hackers in business for a long time."

It's time to demand standards -- and if the manufacturers of these products won't do it, than the FTC and the Bureau of Consumer Protection should.

No parent should have to worry that the monitors they're using to keep their kids safe are being hacked by those who want to spy on a family, invade a family's privacy, or use the baby monitor to steal other personal information. Call for better security standards on baby monitors now.