Hackers accessing info via baby monitors

Houston dad notices 2-year-old daughter being harassed

HOUSTON - Parents purchase baby monitors to protect their children, but now hackers are using computers to get inside them.

It can happen without parents ever knowing, but it also can be prevented.

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In Houston, a hacker gained access to a 2-year-old girl's baby monitor in August, harassing the child and calling her names.

Hackers are targeting the devices and it may surprise you just how much information they can get from one image.

"Most people have no clue how much info is inside a photo and how much detailed info they can draw from you based on your surroundings," said Joe Boy, a computer security expert with Computer Solutions.

Boy knows how to hack into a computer system and has advice about how to keep software protected.

He also worries about keeping his 2-year-old son Tiberius safe.

"As a father, I look into who has access into info about my son," Boy said.

So how do people know which monitors are secure?

"I've found most monitors $100 to 150 or less don't have adequate security," Boy said.

Boy says security comes at a cost, and baby monitors with the proper security options featuring Wifi ability run about $200 or more.  Most, however, will a password.

And because hackers are using computers, it's important to make passwords longer, not more complex.

"A 16-character password will take about 40 years to break with decent software," Boy said.

Cliff Zou, a computer science professor at the University of Central Florida says parents should change the default passwords for all the products. He also says make sure you're using encrypted Wifi.

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"Anyone driving outside your house cannot access your Wifi," Zou said.

Zou said manufacturers will make some changes in the future, including a mandatory changes of passwords, which would prevent hackers from getting in.

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