Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013
By Clark Howard
Baby monitors are cheap to buy, but are you compromising your family's privacy when you buy one?
The new breed of security cameras people put in their homes and small businesses pose some dangers. Hackers are easily able to break into these systems, especially the cameras used for baby monitors.
You can buy a base station and monitoring unit for under $100. And then you can access the video feed over your home's wireless network, so you can comfort your baby without having to go into their room.
But now we're hearing sensationalist stories about how a Peeping Tom on the corner can hack into your system and talk to your baby. So how much should you worry about this? Not a whole lot because there are simple precautions you can take. Here are some ways to make your baby monitor more hack-proof:
1. When you get it out of the box, register the product. By doing so, you'll get software updates (aka firmware updates) that are specifically written to address newly discovered vulnerabilities.
2. Put password protection on your home wireless router.
3. Change the default password on any electronics. With electric garage door openers, for example, they may come with a simple default password like 1234 or 1111. Don't leave that default set. Change it out to something you can remember that's not so easily guessable.
I'm not trying to take you into the full realm of paranoia, but I do want you to know what to do so you and your family can stay safe.
As for me and my family, we use the DropCam system at our home. When my TV producers found out, they asked if they could have a hacker try to break into it. Turn out the security consulting firm they hired could not do it -- though I don’t want to challenge any other hackers who may be out there!
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