How to Keep Your Baby Monitor from Being Hacked [Infographic)

Hacking into a baby monitor? Why on earth would anyone do that?

It is a strange and equally scary notion that someone could be snooping around, listening in to your everyday interactions around the house. But the fact is that it happens.

By learning the basics on how someone could do this, you can set yourself up with technology that closes those loopholes - or at least makes it much harder to crack.

Most likely this is something that had not occurred to you in the past. So we will try and explain the how, why and what to do about it. With the least amount of technical speak possible.

How Easy is it to Hack a Baby Monitor?

It is becoming increasingly popular and easy for people to hack baby monitors. More and more of our household items are being equipped with wireless capabilities, including many popular video baby monitors.

Baby monitors that are connected via wireless to the internet may seem like a good idea at first glance.

They give you access on your tablet or smartphone to view your baby from anywhere, without worrying about stepping outside of the connection range.

However, these monitors are the most vulnerable.

The problem is that consumers do not think of these items as being computers.

With every additional product you have connected to the internet in your home, the more accessible your home is to intruders, both physical and digital, as all of these products are connected through one thing: your wi-fi router. 

Without going into a lot of technical jargon, the bottom line is that the software that runs the baby monitor is often outdated by the time production is finished. 

If we look at the Iphone for example. Updates are released regularly to fix vulnerabilities in IOS that a hacker could exploit.

The same vigilance is not applied to some Baby Monitor software, although a number of companies have been releasing updates to their software in response to hacking incidents. 

Unfortunately, price does not necessarily play a part in securing your baby’s monitor. With video monitor prices ranging from around $60-$300, you would hope that the more expensive models are more secure.

Studies have shown that the higher priced models are just as vulnerable as the lower

Motivation Behind Monitor Hacking

The thought of someone watching your child is enough to send chills down your spine and get your blood boiling.

What could their motivation possibly be? What do these hackers hope to gain from accessing your baby’s monitor?

There are a few types of people who would be interested in hacking your baby monitor.

The Vouyeur

They simply find entertainment in watching life happen, almost like a reality show. They seek to enter someone else’s life for a few minutes, even if it is just to watch.

I had no idea this was a pastime until I saw that Netflix documentary by the same name. It does make you wonder how many more people like this are out there.... I never want to find out. 

If you are not familiar with this check out the clip below: 

The Prankster

They are looking for some fun, and often just pride in the fact that they are able to do it. They may actually talk to the baby, waking or keeping them up, or make vulgar noises to disturb people in the house.

While to the perpetrator it could seem like harmless fun. But as documented in this thread on Reddit - it is creepy as hell!! 

Could you imagine hearing this through your baby monitor?

"…your…little girl…was…delicious…",

The Criminal

Well, all of the above are criminals. But this group are those with more sinister intentions.

They watch and listen, waiting for an opportunity to steal, or worse, hurt your family.

They can see when you are not home, giving them the opportunity to come inside.

Even if they never do this they can gather info from conversations that can lead to fraud and blackmail

Case Studies

There are an alarming number of baby monitor hacking cases that you can find with a simple internet search, and some of the most popular (receiving the most media traction) involve Foscam products, with cases popping up between 2013 and 2015. 

In each of these cases, Foscam was contacted and made aware of the incidents.

They responded, stating that they were making efforts to improve their security, provided details of their monitors’ internal security and passwords, and advised parents to update the firmware on their monitors to keep up with the latest security measures.

How Can I Prevent Hacking?

No matter the type of person or the motivation behind baby monitor hacking, it is obviously something that you will want to avoid at all costs.

But with the numerous options in technology and the rise in digital hacking, how do you find a baby monitor that is safe?

prevent baby monitor hacking

Analogue Vs Digital Baby Monitors

For years, baby monitors were only available in analog, working on radio frequency like a walkie-talkie.

The older analog technology has a much shorter range, which means that someone needs to be relatively close to pick up on the signal. But it was also very easy for other radios and walkie talkies to pick up the same frequency. 

This could lead to interference with the signal coming through, or a complete crossover allowing for someone to listen in on what is happening inside your house.

A scary thought…

Overall, digital is much safer and more reliable. But it does have its weak points.

The signal is much stronger, allowing for better connection, and sound and video quality. Far superior to that of analog monitors.

However, electronic devices, such as wireless routers, cell phones, and microwaves, may cause interference with the signal. 

Digital monitors are also often equipped with extra security measures that help prevent hacking. But we will go into this technological advancement in more detail shortly.

Dangers of Wifi Monitors

Going beyond the capabilities of digital monitors, wi-fi capable monitors are becoming increasingly popular.

They are often compatible with mobile devices, via a free downloadable app, so that you can keep an eye on your baby when you are at work or out to dinner, leaving her with a babysitter.

But the added convenience of long distance monitoring does not make up for the added risk of potential hacking.

Despite the advertised security features on these products, there have been some major design flaws discovered in these devices.

Some have hidden, unchangeable passwords that can be found in manuals or online, allowing anyone to gain access to the camera. Other products did not encrypt their data or video stream, making it easier for hackers to intercept the signal.

The scary fact is that the more devices you have connected through wi-fi in your home, the easier it is for these hackers to gain access to your personal information, particularly through your computer, or have a good view of your home and family through your video baby monitor.

While many wi-fi capable monitors are mostly safe, you definitely take a very big risk if you choose to use them.

FHSS Technology

As we mentioned before, many digital monitors come equipped with extra security measures, and one of these is the inclusion of frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology.

This is a method of transmitting data to where the signal is spread and frequency is changed at random. Making it harder for hackers to hone in on the signal and gain access.

This is a method of transmitting data to where the signal is spread and frequency is changed at random. Making it harder for hackers to hone in on the signal and gain access.

Most digital monitors come equipped with this feature, and if you are unsure of a particular model, you can likely find it in the product description. Choosing a monitor that utilizes FHSS technology makes it a better choice for safety in your home.

Lockdown Online Access and Change Passwords

If you do not want to solely rely on your baby monitor being secure enough to keep hackers out, you can take the next step to make your home safer from online predators: securing your wireless network.

Be sure to have your user’s manual handy to make the most out of its security features.

Start by turning on WPA2 encryption, which is the current standard in wireless security, making your router more hacker-resistant.

You should also consider changing your wireless network’s name (SSID) and default password. Hackers have access to lists of common SSID’s and can use programs to crack passwords when these are not changed.

Changing your password to something long (roughly about 16 characters or more) also decreases the likelihood of it being cracked.

We want to try and save you from the majority of the technical babble that comes with securing your wireless network - if you would like more detailed information visit here.

Turn off Monitor When Not in Use

Finally, the simplest thing you can do to limit access to your home is to turn off your monitor when it is not in use.

No power, no access.

It may be a small portion of the day that it is off, but this eliminates exposure for that time and interrupts any hacking attempt that could be underway at any one time. 

Most Secure Video Baby Monitor reviews

This monitor is our favorite, not only because it is a trusted brand, but also because of what it has to offer.

With full pan, tilt and zoom controls from the parent unit, you can see your baby anywhere in the room. You also have the freedom to wander your house with a range of up to 1000 feet.

The temperature and sound alerts, you can always be sure that your baby is safe and comfortable.

It can be linked with up to four cameras (additional sold separately) and includes alerts on the parent unit for temperature, out of range, and low battery to make sure you always stay connected.

Pro

  • Full pan, tilt, and zoom from parent unit: you have full control over the camera’s movement from the parent unit, enabling you to control 270 degrees of horizontal movement, 126 degrees of vertical, and 2x zoom.
  • Comes equipped for wall mounting: this product comes with all of the hardware needed to mount your camera onto the wall so you can get the best angle.
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    Long range: one of the longest connection ranges we have seen in a baby monitor at up to 1000 feet.

Con

  • Temperature reading may be inaccurate: several parents have stated that the temperature gauge is inaccurate, fluctuating up to 10 degrees, which can set off the temperature alerts on the parent unit even if the temperature is fine.

Employing secure FHSS technology, this monitor from Infant Optics has made our list thanks to its larger than average screen display and interchangeable lenses, as well as its unique ability to be charged via USB from your computer. 

The only downside is that you will need to fork out a little more cash for these additional features.

Pro

  • Interchangeable lens: the camera comes with 3 lenses, including panoramic view and zoom, to allow you the best view of your child at all times.
  • Larger 3.5” display: the screen on the parent unit is one of the largest amongst the products we reviewed, which makes it easier to see your child.
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    Expandable to 4 cameras: additional cameras are available for purchase if you would like to use this monitoring system in multiple rooms of your house.

Con

  • Cost: this one is at the higher end of the price scale.
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    No zoom from remote: the lens options allow for zoom, but you do not have zoom control from the parent unit like you do with pan and tilt

With a long connection range of up to 900 feet, and an alert that will let you know when you are outside of that range, this monitor from Baby Sense is perfect for the parent who enjoys a cup of tea and a good book on the porch while their baby is quietly snoozing.

This digital monitor also comes equipped with FHSS technology, ensuring that your connection to you baby is safe and secure.

While again it is at the higher end of the price scale, it's performance excels to meet the price tag.

Pro

  • Eco-mode: putting the parent unit into eco-mode turns the screen off, turning the video monitor into a sound-only monitor, saving battery life and helping you sleep better at night.
  • Long range: advertised as having up to a 900-foot range which allows you free roam of your house while still keeping the signal connected.
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    Additional features: this monitor also features two-way audio connection (equipped with talk back), temperature gauge on the camera unit and display on the parent unit, and the option to play lullabies for your little one.

Con

  • Short power cord for camera: the camera needs to remain plugged in to maintain connection, and the power cord is a bit short, so you will have to carefully plan your camera placement.
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    Camera angle needs to be adjusted manually: there are no tilt, pan, and zoom options from the parent unit, so if you want to see another angle, you need to adjust the camera manually.

The UU Infant Video Monitor is also inexpensive but secure to use with your little one. It features two-way talk to keep you aware of what is happening in your baby’s room.

For a budget option you still get some great features like the built-in nightlight on the child unit, and temperature alerts on the parent unit.

Unfortunately, as with most budget friendly products, there are sacrifices you will make with this model, such as a very small screen and the inability to control the camera from the parent unit.

Pro

  • Night light on monitor: there is a soft light on your camera unit that will slightly illuminate your baby’s room so you can see if you need to go in with disturbing her with bright lights.
  • Bonus car mirror: your purchase on Amazon comes with a bonus car mirror that can be mounted to the back window for easy viewing of your child in the car as well.
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    Temperature alerts: you can set and minimum and maximum temperature on your device, and the parent unit will alert you if the temperature in the baby’s room is outside of that range.

Con

  • Manual tilt and pan: there are no tilt, pan, and zoom controls from the parent unit requiring that desired angles be acquired through manual adjustment.
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    Small screen with poor quality: the small screen can has a somewhat grainy resolution, especially when in night vision mode, which can make it difficult to see your child at night.

This monitor from Summer Infant is ideal for play rooms, as it comes with the ability to pan, scan, and zoom from the parent unit, allowing you to keep an eye on your baby no matter where she is in the room.

Pro

  • Pan, scan, and zoom: the parent unit comes equipped with controls for the camera, allowing remote pan, tilt, and zoom.
  • Can be easily paired with additional cameras: pairing up to 3 additional cameras with this unit is easy (just be sure you purchase the correct cameras as they are model specific).

Con

  • Shorter range than others: unlike some of the other products we have looked at, this one has a shorter connection range, at only 600 feet maximum.
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    Short battery life: the parent unit has a 4-6 hour maximum battery life, which means you will need to charge it during the day and keep it on the charger overnight.

Final Word

With its FHSS technology, long range, full camera control from the parent unit, and out-of-range and battery alerts, the VTech VM333 stood up best against our criteria.

This monitor will ensure your family and their privacy is secure, and that you are never too far from your little one.

If you have any questions or comments about baby monitor hacking, be sure to leave a comment below. And share this article with others who may find it informative.

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