Minnesota Family Discovers Compromised Nannycam
As technology advances, so does criminality. The “Peeping Tom” of old can now go about his nefarious activities from the comfort of his home – halfway around the world. Thanks to Nannycams, or web-enabled cameras that allow parents to monitor their children both on their local network and often while away from the home, hackers have found yet-undisclosed vulnerabilities in the software that allows them full control of the cameras.
Rochester, Minnesota Family Finds Voyeur to be from Amsterdam
A family in Rochester, Minnesota, recently caught on to the scheme when they noticed music playing over the speakers of the interface. When they entered the nursery to investigate the music, the music stopped. They then checked the access logs of the Foscam camera and found an unknown IP address – from Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The IP address had the address spycam.cdn7.com associated with it, and by the time Hacked got to the story, the address was no longer functioning. Like as not, the voyeurs have simply moved on to another address.
Speaking to her local news, the mother of the spied-upon child said:
“There’s at least fifteen different countries listed and it’s not just nurseries – it’s people’s living rooms, their bedrooms, their kitchens. Every place that people think is sacred and private in their home is being accessed.”
Here she is referencing the fact that people do not only use Foscam cameras for monitoring their infant children. Many times they are used in other capacities throughout the home.
Company Offers List of Security Measures
It appears that the company who manufactures the affected cameras, Foscam, has yet to implement encrypted connections. Something along these lines would make it far more difficult for hackers of any level to gain access. They do, however, offer a number of security measures that parents should take when they decide they’re going to use these cameras in place of regular monitoring.
Back in February, a Houston-area family had a similar problem with the same hardware. Their real nanny Ashley Stanley noticed that the Nannycam interface was talking while she was changing the baby. Specifically, she quoted the attacker as saying, “That’s a really poopy diaper.” She also heard the hacker say, “You should probably password-protect your camera.” Good advice gained in the worst way, also implying that weak security measures were the real culprit in this case.
Any normal person would be petrified and probably wonder if they had really heard what they heard, but the hard-nosed Nanny simply checked whether the parents had been involved (they hadn’t) and unplugged the camera.
Technology like this, when improperly implemented either by the maker or by the user, compromises the most intimate parts of family life and enables the most heinous elements of society to have unprecedented access. The only hope is that basic security and privacy practices become more prevalent than weak passwords and unsecured networks before the technology becomes ubiquitous.
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