A recent news story highlighted the risk of hackers violating homeowners’ security. A Houston family who had installed webcams in their children’s bedrooms, found that their 8 year-old girl was being watched by nefarious Internet voyeurs.
As is so often the case in cybersecurity incidents, the discovery was made by a third party. In this case, another mom in Oregon stumbled on video of the child’s bedroom streaming online and set off the alert on social media.
Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario is far from new. Baby cams and security cameras are increasingly targets for cybercriminals with motivations ranging from the creepy to theft. And with tens of millions of these cameras in use, we can only expect the problem to get worse.
There are multiple attack vectors that enable a hacker to hijack a webcam. Malware infections using remote administration tools (RATs) can enable hackers to take control of a camera. Hackers can exploit weak passwords, unencrypted security keys, and other security holes in Internet-connected cameras. The Houston family suspect their problem may be tied to their daughter playing a video game.
Recommendations to prevent these types of attacks from breaching a homeowner’s privacy include changing default passwords, using antivirus software, and turning off or covering the camera’s lens.
While there are a number of sensible security precautions that homeowners can and should take, most are not sufficient to comprehensively protect your family. For example, it is almost impossible for AV companies to keep up with new variants of malware and unintentional flaws in security embedded by a camera manufacturer are often only found and patched after hackers have exploited the weakness.
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