Baby cam monitor hack and kidnapping threat serve as warning for tech security

As people buy and receive smart home devices over the holidays a family's story of a baby cam breach and kidnapping threat serve as a warning about home security.

A Texas couple woke to sounds coming from the Nest Cam baby monitor in their four-month-old son's room.

"We heard sexual expletives being said in his room. So we turned on the light in our room, we turned that camera on and he told us to turn off the light and said I'm going to kidnap your baby I'm in your baby's room," recalled Ellen Rigney, a Texas mother.

They ran into the room and realized they'd been hacked. Nobody was physically in the room, but the baby. ConnectSafely.org CEO Larry Magid explains.

"Webcams are vulnerable because they're on the internet and everything on the internet is vulnerable especially if you're not being really careful with your passwords," said Magid.

ABC 7 reached out to Nest. The company says it's likely the password for the device was compromised from a data breach on another site.

Here's Nest's full statement:

Nest has reset all the accounts where customers reused passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites and published publicly. Even though Nest was not breached, these customers were vulnerable because their credentials were freely available on the Internet. Each customer has received instructions on how to establish new credentials. For added password security, we're preventing customers from using passwords which appear on known compromised lists. As before, we encourage all customers to use two-factor verification for added account security, even if your password is compromised.

"Secure passwords are important and unique passwords are especially important because once a password is compromised the hackers are going to try to use it on all your devices and services to try to break-in," said Magid.

Local dad Daniel Guerra sees how parents could easily fall victim.

"We have that issue, we have like two passwords for everything. so if they know one, you're done," noted Guerra.

It's not just baby monitors. Other smart home devices could be compromised without proper precautions. And like a baby monitor, they reside in many of our personal spaces like bedrooms.

"Alexa are you spying on us?" asked Magid, to which the device responded, "I only send audio back to Amazon when I hear you say the wake word."

Magid says if your device offers two-factor authentication use it. Also, make sure your wireless router is secure. Keep unique passwords and change them often.

Nest suggests to check and see if any of your online data has been leaked. You do that by going to this website.
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