Can Video Baby Monitors Be Hacked? (Checked)

Video baby monitors have the ability to both watch and listen whilst your little one is in the other room and then feed that data to either a dedicated parent unit or, depending on your device, to an app on your phone.

This fantastic technology has given parents peace of mind and a sense of security that they can check on their baby at any time to see how they are getting on.

However, you may have heard that video baby monitors have a risk of being hacked, and that same camera and audio system that keeps your baby safe can be exploited for nefarious reasons.

Here’s If Video Baby Monitors can Be Hacked:

Video baby monitors are essentially small computers that connect to the internet. As such, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks like any other device connected to Wi-Fi or the internet. But this does not mean that all video baby monitors are insecure. Some have features to protect them.

Hand of mother is holding baby monitor camera for safety of her cute baby

Can Video Baby Monitors Be Hacked?

Video baby monitors can be exploited due to their reliance on WiFi to transmit data, such as camera and audio feeds.

Most video baby monitors offer some type of protection against hackers in the way of data encryption.

Additionally, parents can take extra measures to prevent hackers from gaining access, such as improving network security on their router.

Why Does My Video Baby Monitor Sound Like It’s Being Hacked?

The paranoia surrounding video baby monitors and their potential to be hacked is very real.

Parents will naturally worry if there is a sense that a product they own could harm their family in any way, and as such, strange noises coming from a video baby monitor may prompt fears that a hack is occurring.

However, with the exception of hearing someone speaking over your baby monitor, the noises are very likely due to the constraints of the products.

Strange Noises That Are Mistaken For Hacking

Video baby monitors need to be placed at the right distance in order to prevent odd noises. Here are two ways in which your baby monitor may make noises that could be mistaken as a hack:

  1. If your video baby monitor is too far away from the parent unit.
    • Video baby monitors will have an optimal proximity between the camera and the parent unit.
    • If that distance is exceeded then strange sounds, such as static, distortions, and white noise may occur.
    • These sounds will cease once you bring the two units closer together.
  2. If your video baby monitor is too close to the parent unit.
    • Users have reported a screeching sound coming from their parent unit.
    • Although this sound is disturbing it should not be mistaken for an indication of hacking.
    • Moving the camera and parent unit further apart from one another will prevent this sound.

There are reports that some video baby monitors make clicking sounds.

These unusual sparks or clicks are usually due to the movement of the lens or the night vision mode becoming active.

  • The lens on video monitors adjusts to ambient light changes.
  • These changes in lighting will cause the components to activate inside your baby monitor.
  • For example, if the light in the room becomes too low, night vision will activate (if your particular video baby monitor has this feature).
  • The night vision switching on will cause a ‘click‘ noise.
  • These noises are nothing to worry about and are part and parcel of your video baby monitor operating as it should.

Why Would Someone Hack A Baby Monitor?

We have all heard these horror stories in the past few years of parents finding out that their child’s baby monitor has been hacked without them even realizing it.

Thankfully, because this type of crime has come to light, most reputable baby monitor brands have now implemented extra security measures.

Yet understanding why an individual would want to hack into a baby monitor is still hard for some of us to fathom.

Below are the main reasons as to why someone would want to encroach on your privacy in this manner.

Pranksters

Although hearing the voice of a stranger in the middle of the night through your baby monitor is incredibly alarming there are unfortunately individuals out there that will find it a joy to do.

A person who conducts this type of prank may send threats or other obscenities.

Peepers

Another reason that an individual would hack a video baby monitor is to literally just watch.

As creepy as it may seem, some people bizarrely find pleasure in spying on the lives of other people.

It is incredibly invasive, but the chances of this happening are so small that you needn’t overly worry.

Criminals

Unfortunately, as technology has developed, criminal activity has developed alongside it.

As smart technology is implemented into our homes, privacy vulnerabilities are increasing; each device is a potential access point to our personal data.

It’s worth noting how rare and unfortunate it would be if it were to happen to you, but it’s helpful to be aware of the risks.

  • Radio baby monitors can be hacked by burglars in order to discover when the family home is vacated.
  • There have also been reports of cyber criminals hacking WiFi-based video baby monitors as a means to access the home network.
    • Once a hacker has gained access to the network, they have access to other devices such as phones, laptops iPads etc.
    • All of these devices most likely contain private data such as banking details and passwords and could leave victims vulnerable to identity fraud.

All this said, it is still incredibly rare, so don’t panic.

Are There Any Reports Of Video Baby Monitors Being Hacked?

Although it is rare, there have indeed been reports of video baby monitors being hacked. Including big brand names such as Owlet and iBaby.

The iBaby came under particular scrutiny when:

“a cybersecurity company found vulnerabilities in its M6S model”

However, since that report, iBaby has fixed the bug.

As more and more people become aware of the security risks of video baby monitors that are connected to WiFi, more improvements are made to deter would-be hackers from gaining access.

Read our blog here about how do wi-di baby monitors work?

Can You Check If A Video Baby Monitor Is Being Hacked?

If there is a potential that your video baby monitor can be hacked, you may want to know if you can spot it if it does indeed happen.

There are of course some tell-tell signs that could indicate your unit has been targetted, but it is important not to jump to any conclusions.

  1. The camera on your video baby monitor has a mind of its own.
    • If your camera moves or has moved without you adjusting it then this could indicate that someone else has control over your device.
    • Many smart video monitors allow you to change the position of the camera remotely.
    • If someone has gained access then they will be able to make these same changes.
    • Remember, you may have other users (such as family members) who have access to this feature. Always check with them first. Perhaps your teenage son is playing a practical joke?
  2. Someone else is speaking from your baby monitor.
    • Some video baby monitors employ a talkback feature.
    • This feature allows parents to communicate with their children and vice versa.
    •  If you hear somebody else over the monitor then this could indicate your device is hacked.
  3. Your settings have changed.
    • If you notice that any of your security settings have changed then this could indicate the device has been hacked.
    • If your passwords have changed on the device then it is sensible to stop using the device until you have reset them and identified why and how they were changed.
    • Check for changes such as your camera’s name being changed, too.
  4. LED on when it shouldn’t be.
    • Many video baby monitors are equipped with an LED.
    • The LED changes color depending on whether someone is actively watching.
    • If you look at the camera unit and the LED is indicating that someone is watching, but you and no one else you know is, then this could mean that someone has gained access to your camera feed.

Can You Protect A Video Baby Monitor From Hackers?

Although most video baby monitors have systems in place to prevent hacking from occurring, there are some additional steps you can take to make your baby monitor even more secure.

Use these tips to protect your video baby monitor from being targetted by a hacker:

    1. Passwords are not created equally.
      • A decent password can go a long way to firming up the security of your devices.
      • Choose a password that is not generic.
      • Do not use or keep the default password that came with your device
      • Use an alphanumeric password that includes symbols too.
      • Complicated passwords are more difficult to guess and be stolen.
    2. Updates are your best friend.
      • Updates to the firmware of your device are a crucial defense against hackers.
      • These updates can provide new security protocols that your baby monitor can use to prevent hackers from gaining access.
      • Updates are the only way the company can ensure that your device stays up-to-date with any new tricks a would-be hacker has up their sleeve.
    3. Protect your network.
      • Video baby monitors that use WiFi are under threat if your network is not secure.
      • Rename the WiFi and change the default admin password on your router.
    4. Use two-factor authorization if possible.
      • If you’re still looking for a video baby monitor then consider purchasing one that offers two-factor authorization.
      • By activating this feature, you’ll need both a password and a randomly generated code, which may be sent by SMS, in order to access your video baby monitor.
      • This two-layer authentication helps keep hackers out.
    5. If in doubt, pull the plug out.
      • Simply unplug your device when you’re not at home.
      • By doing so, you can ensure that no one can take a sneaky peek inside your house.

Are Video Baby Monitors Encrypted?

If you are purchasing a video baby monitor you should most definitely be checking how it protects your video feed.

There are many video baby monitors on the market and they offer a range of protection by using a variety of different technologies.

Best Forms Of Protection For Your Video Baby Monitor

  1. FHSS
    • It stands for frequency-hopping spread spectrum and it does a terrific job at constantly switching between frequencies making it very difficult to hack.
  2. Encrypted Networks
    • Stay off the WiFi entirely with an encrypted network just for you and your video baby monitor.
  3. 256-bit Encryption
    • High bit encryption improves the odds that a hacker won’t gain access, moreover, you become an undesirable target.

Can Video Baby Monitors Be Hacked When Not On Wifi?

Unfortunately, there are no proven methods to make any baby monitor 100% secure.

Some video baby monitors work both on and off the WiFi, but they are vulnerable to privacy intrusion regardless.

However, if you are using a video baby monitor with encryption technology and other security measures, the chances of being hacked are dramatically reduced.

Check this blog about do baby monitors need wi-fi to work?

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