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Monitoring the Baby Monitor

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

Every year, it feels more and more like we’re living in a science fiction world because of all the technological advances we benefit from in our day-to-day lives. This is especially  true for parents to watch over their babies with smart baby monitors.

If you are anything like me, when I became a new mom I was OBSESSED with this baby who  made my whole heart full. So as a new mom, I was consistently checking on my little one at night. But with the extra convenience (and peace of mind), it can come at a cost if you don’t take a few steps to protect your little one.

It might surprise you to know that baby monitors have been notoriously weak in security, and I’ll tell you how and why it’s an issue. For some context, last year, there was a critical vulnerability that was found in more than 83 million smart devices, which included baby monitors. There were even more examples of smart baby monitors with critical vulnerabilities last year and in 2018 and probably much more that went undiscovered! A common theme is that some of the monitors were rushed into market at an affordable rate, which comes at the cost of not designing in enough security measures into the product itself. Because of this, it exposes people to some issues involving their privacy (including the use of any cameras) and their home network being compromised. This just adds to the stress for new parents, who are just looking to take care of their children. That being said, here are some helpful tips you can use to protect your smart baby monitor!

Secure Your Wireless Router

Your router is the (digital) front door to your home and that includes any, if not all, of the smart devices that are connected to your network – including your baby monitor. The first thing you’ll want to be sure is to keep your router secure, beginning with a strong password (when you set it up), and to keep the router’s firmware updated, disable any remote router access, maintain strong passwords, and never leave your WiFi network open.

Create a Strong Password for Your Baby Monitor

Your password is the first line of defense for your baby monitor. Make sure they’re at least 12 characters long using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Also, be sure to change the default password – before turning it on -- as some of these passwords are commonly known to would-be cybercriminals.

Update Firmware for Your Monitor’s Camera

As with all of your devices, it’s important for you to go through and make sure that you’re completing updates to your firmware, as it will help protect you and guard against any vulnerabilities the vendor may discover over the life of the product.

Register Your Monitor

Registering your monitor, with the manufacturer or retailer, will help you stay current with any security updates. If a security vulnerability is found after being sold, the vendor may send out a recall notice or software update.

Disable Remote Access to Your Monitor’s Camera

While it’s convenient for watching your baby through the internet, it also gives others the potential to use the camera to monitor your home and your baby as well. Removing it from the network will prevent others from easily spying on your house and protect your baby.

As we grow more technologically advanced, we become more exposed to security vulnerabilities. By following these tips, you can stay ahead of the curve in protecting your family's privacy, your baby, and your home. If you’re interested in following more tips, be sure to check out our blog here and our cyber tips here!