A woman claims that she and her family were spied upon after an unknown party hacked their way into a baby monitor.
Katie McMurray and her partner Sean Johnson live in the city of Perth in western Australia. They recently celebrated the birth of their now-three-month-old daughter. To help give them some peace of mind, they decided to purchase a smart Uniden baby monitor that allows them to observe their daughter from another room using a proprietary handset device or smartphone app.
But on 26 September, McMurray noticed something alarming: when she went to check on her daughter, the baby monitor's camera followed her movements around the room. She told Johnson about the strange behavior. Also concerned, he took a look at the baby monitor and found red text in a foreign language displayed in the unit's camera view on his smartphone app.
Johnson took a screenshot of what he saw.
The couple decided to return the baby monitor after that for fear that a foreign actor had managed to get past their separate Wi-Fi and camera passwords and hack the baby monitor. McMurray said the incident made her feel "shocked" and "quite sick." Johnson told 7 News that it opened his eyes to the potential dangers of such smart products.
"I feel like we buy these things to make sure our kids are safe, and then you don't know who is watching."
It's unclear whether the unauthorized individual exploited a software flaw built into Uniden's product or abused a weakness in the couple's Wi-Fi router to access the baby monitor.
With that said, users should carefully research IoT devices and their commitment to security before they decide to make a purchase. They should also make sure to secure their Wi-Fi networks by following these basic and more advanced steps.