Is Your Home Security System Safe?

Tech Talker explains how to secure your home surveillance system. Plus - is it possible to hack your security system via the baby monitor?

Eric Escobar
3-minute read
Episode #90

I got an email from Tech Talker listener Travis. He was concerned after hearing a news story in which a hacker accessed a home's security camera that was acting as a baby monitor. Travis wants to get a baby monitor for his child, but is unsure on how to secure it so that this doesn't happen to him.

In this week's episode I'll be explaining how to harden your network to make it more secure against invasion..

I feel that the best way to make yourself the most secure is to understand how a hacker could gain access to any given device. This doesn't just pertain to cameras, but to everything tech. The more you understand how certain hacks are done, the better prepared you will be to prevent the attack from happening to you.

How to Hack a Baby Monitor

Let's look at exactly how this attack was carried out.

The parent in this situation was using a security camera as a baby monitor. Now, there's nothing wrong with this. In fact, it's often a better and less expensive option because not only will it pick up audio and video, but after a child grows up you can simply repurpose the camera for use in your home!

This camera was attached to the parent's home network, which runs through the WiFi router that is connected to the internet. This connection to the internet allows the world access to your router. A wireless router and the fact that the camera was connected to the internet are red flags in terms of security.

It turned out that the parents in this situation did not have a password protected Wifi. This means that anyone trying to connect to their internet connection could do so without needing any password or permission. So if you were living fairly close to the house or were parked just outside, you could theoretically connect to their network and see all the other devices connected to the router. After browsing the devices on the connected router, the hacker may have decided to view the camera, which happened to be used as a baby monitor.

The other option a hacker could have used to get in would be if he were able to obtain the IP address of the router over the internet and find a security hole in it. This would be a much more difficult hack but it's still in the realm of possibility.

So now that we know how this was done, let's look at how you could protect yourself against it.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.