An American mother has issued a warning to all parents using WIFI-enabled baby monitors, after she realised hers was hacked by a total stranger.
Jamie Summitt ordered her baby monitor on Amazon, mamamia reports, attracted by the fact that you could see live video footage of your baby on your phone if you downloaded its corresponding app. Multiple people could download the app, which she thought would be useful so her husband and sister-in-law, who was staying with them at the time, could check in too.
That was until she realised that her monitor had been hacked by someone who was redirecting the position of the camera to zoom in on her breastfeeding her son.
“This afternoon I had the app plulled up and was watching Noah sleep in the bassinet in our room,” Summitt writes in a now-viral Facebook post that has been shared almost 3000 times.
“I was in the living room with the only two people who had access (or so I thought) to the monitor. All of a sudden I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the camera was moving… and it was panning over to our bed. The exact spot that I breastfeed my son every day.”
“Once the person watching realised I was not in bed, he panned back over to Noah asleep in his bassinet.”
Summitt contacted both the police, who said they had no way of tracing the hacker, and the baby monitor company, but their number was no longer in service. Reviews have been disabled for the product on Amazon.
Disturbingly, once Summitt realised what was happening, the app suddenly locked her out – “leading us to believe whoever was on the other end could hear us and that we had figured out what was going on,” she writes.
This isn’t the first case of baby monitors being hacked – in September 2017, Perth couple couple Katie McMurray and Sean Johnson were using a baby monitor to keep an eye on their three-month-old daughter Chelsea, via an app on Sean’s phone.
But when Katie was changing Chelsea’s nappy, she noticed the camera tracking her every movement. The mum fears hackers might have used the monitor to spy on her family.
“Anything that’s on the internet has a particular footprint which can be traced,” Curtin cyber expert Dr Tama Leaver told 7 News at the time.