Security experts at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), have cautioned users of smart devices on an increased potential of cyberattacks by hackers. The experts cited previous incidents reported in the media, and are advising that you take steps to make your smart devices and baby monitors safe for longterm usage.
Dr Ian Levy, technical director of NCSC, reported that although smart devices were fantastic tools, they have in many cases, put their owners at risk.
Baby monitors are fantastic tools, but are they really safe? Photo: iStock
Are Smart Devices and Baby Monitors Safe?
Your smart devices are Wi-Fi enabled and often rigged to your smartphone to provide you with instantly accessible information. Anyone with moderate technical knowledge can gain access to the live feeds and images, and Wi-Fi can easily be hacked for a glimpse into your home. Just as you can monitor your child or an aged relative inside your home, so can the hacker.
Smart devices are usually rigged to smartphones enabling anyone with moderate knowledge to hack into your household systems. Photo: iStock
Additionally, most budget baby monitors have a poor security system. Companies compromise on security systems and updates, to facilitate cheap mass-production. Some manufacturers set easy-to-guess default passwords such as ‘0000’ or ‘admin’, and cyber-criminals can use this knowledge to reach your devices remotely.
Smart cameras inadvertently provide layout information for future robberies, and in purchasing such products you may be unknowingly putting your family in danger.
Tips on how you can keep your baby monitors safe from hackers
- Change the device's default password, as soon as you acquire one. Ensure that the password is unique and difficult to figure out.
- Keep updating all your devices. Install security software. Keep your baby monitor camera’s firmware (security software) updated.
- Switch off features from your phone and camera when you don’t need them. If you are not likely to use too many features, disable them.
- Look for encryptions wherever applicable. A baby monitor must have SSL/TSL encryption to transmit your video data over the internet and AES encryption to secure data stored in the cloud or your device.
- Consider disabling UPnP and port forwarding on your router. These technologies, used for online gaming, help locate devices within your network and is usually how criminals access your devices.
Governments all over the world are in the process of implementing new laws and mandates for security standards to keep all baby monitors safe. All smart device manufacturers will have to comply with new laws to protect customer safety.
Constantly update your device's security features. Photo: iStock
What Else Can You Do?
Look into your requirements before buying any device. Compare the pros and cons of Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitors and digital baby monitors, before proceeding to buy them.
You usually get what you pay for: cheaper baby monitors are not likely to offer the best security provisions. Invest in a secure device for the safety of your family.
Seriously consider the risk of online gaming and other facilities, over the risk of exposing your family to cybercriminals. NCSC recommends changing router settings.
Don’t forget to update your device periodically and keep changing your password occasionally.