If you are worried about baby monitor security and privacy, this guide has step-by-step details on how a typical hacker can get a hold of your baby monitor signal. Let’s start!
To hack a baby monitor signal, hackers use two key methods:
- Hacking your Wi-Fi network or
- Hacking your monitor or any Wi-Fi-connected device in your home. Doesn’t have to be the baby monitor but once they hack any device within the same network, they can get to your monitor signals.
Let me explain the first instance in more detail.
If you are using a router that has WPA2 or WPA3 encryption, it is very difficult for hackers to get access to your monitor by hijacking your Wi-Fi network. Even if they get past the encryption, they still need to break the password which is not easy unless you are using 12345 as your router password. Read more about WPA2 vs WPA3 here.
Unless you don’t have your router settings specifically set to WPA, the older WEP framework can be hacked as it requires a simple password and it is not difficult to break. If you manage to hack the router, you can control the security settings of all devices in the network including the baby monitor. You can then create an account and easily hijack the signals. But this is not easy as most routers now use WPA encryption, it is pretty difficult to hack the router directly.
As a hacker, your best option is to directly hack the baby monitor not the router
The most straightforward method for hackers to gain access to your baby monitor signals and manipulate or hijack them is by attempting a direct hack on the device itself. This leads me to my next point.
Which baby monitors can be hacked?
First, Wi-Fi-connected monitors that use 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or both (dual) are the easiest for hackers to hack. Non-Wi-Fi monitors including analog and wired monitors are hard to hack as the perverts would need to be within the physical range to access your device or they need to tamper with the monitor’s wires.
With Wi-Fi monitors, hackers do not need to be in physical proximity to the device as they can access it remotely through the internet.
Steps hackers take to hack your baby monitor signal:
Step 1: Determine the vulnerability of your monitor:
The first step they take to hack a monitor is to determine if the monitor you are using has security vulnerabilities. Hackers leverage publicly available search engines like Shodan and Wi-Fi-connected to identify vulnerable monitors. These search engines meticulously scan the Internet of Things (IoT) and interconnected devices for potential weaknesses. For instance, Shodan regularly indexes all publicly exposed IoT devices, including baby monitors, webcams, and routers, at least once a week. Read more about cases of baby monitor hacking here.
Baby monitors have two main sources of security vulnerabilities. The first lies in the firmware elements that make up the device’s communication infrastructure, including the frequency channels it utilizes, encryption standards, two-factor authentication, etc. The second source pertains to the hard-wired security settings, which may feature weak security credentials, such as default accounts with ‘Admin’ as the account name and ‘Password’ as the account password.
Step 2: Find details of the port that handles your monitor communication:
Hackers combine these two vulnerabilities to narrow down which monitor is easiest to hack. After finding out which devices have unfixed vulnerabilities or firmware that hasn’t been updated to seal any security loopholes, they try to find the specific port that handles communication in and out of the baby monitor. This is your Internet Service Provider(ISP) and they can narrow down the search of your ISP using your location or IP address. For example, if you live in Jacksonville Florida, they can easily find online that XFINITY is a popular ISP there.
Step 3: Gain Access
If your monitor has default accounts with credentials such as ‘Admin’ and ‘Password’ and combined with the knowledge of port credentials used by your ISP, hackers can easily gain access to your baby monitor.
5 Steps to hack an analog monitor signal
- Identify the frequency channel: Analog baby monitors use radio frequencies to transmit audio and video signals. Hackers can use a Radio Frequency (RF) scanner to detect which frequency channel your monitor is using.
- Modify the RF scanner: With the right tools and skills, hackers can modify their RF scanners to focus on specific frequencies, making it easier for them to identify the frequency channel used by your monitor.
- Create a fake receiver: Once hackers have identified the frequency channel, they can create a fake receiver that mimics your baby monitor’s signal and tricks it into sending the audio and video feed to them.
- Listen in on audio and video feeds: With access to the frequency channel and a fake receiver, hackers can now listen in on your baby’s audio and video feeds.
- Control the monitor: If the monitor has remote control capabilities, hackers can also take control of it and manipulate features such as volume, night vision, and pan-tilt-zoom.
How do baby monitors get hacked?
Baby monitors get hacked when hackers get a hold of your monitor signal and stream live audio and video feeds of your baby to their device. This can happen through various methods, including gaining access to the monitor’s Wi-Fi or Internet connection and hacking into its frequency channel.
There are several reasons why hackers target baby monitors:
- Access to personal information: Often, baby monitors have sensitive information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers programmed into them. Hackers can use this information for identity theft or to sell it on the dark web.
- Blackmail: In some cases, hackers may use the audio and video feeds to blackmail parents into paying a ransom in exchange for not releasing footage of their child.
- Prying: Some hackers are simply curious and want to see what is happening inside people’s homes. They may access baby monitors just for the thrill of it.
- Vulnerabilities in security: Many baby monitor manufacturers do not prioritize security, leaving their devices vulnerable to hacking. This allows hackers to easily gain access and exploit the device’s features.
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Sandra W. Bullock is a grand-mom to two boys and is part of the review board here at Motherhoodhq.com. She is responsible for the quality control of content and is among our most experienced moms. She has over 20 years of writing parenting content online focussing on baby safety indoors and outdoors. She has written widely on babyproofing nurseries and homes for infants and toddlers and published work on privacy and the safety of baby monitors. She is a renowned advocate for non-wifi baby monitors that cannot be hacked and spends a lot of time educating parents on how to secure their homes – including ways to secure the baby from harm in and around homes. Sandra is a native of Atlanta where she also works. She can be reached using her email, Sandra.w(at)motherhoodhq.com