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Parents urged to change settings on baby monitors and smart cameras over hacking fears

Parents urged to change settings on baby monitors and smart cameras over hacking fears

6 March, 2020

Connected smart-home devices can be watched over the internet by criminals, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned.

The NCSC says that the feeds and images from smart cameras and devices, including some baby monitors, can potentially be accessed by hackers who take advantage of the fact that many come with default passwords.

And, while reassuring consumers that the risks are currently very low, it has released new guidance outlining the steps which owners should take to secure their home.

It advises:

  • Changing the default password to a secure one
  • Making sure devices are updated with the latest security software, or firmware
  • Disabling remote-camera access via the internet if it’s not a feature you use

“Smart technology such as cameras and baby monitors are fantastic innovations with real benefits for people, but without the right security measures in place they can be vulnerable to cyber attackers,” said Dr Ian Levy, NCSC Technical Director.

In December, video of a hacker pretending to be Father Christmas and speaking to a young girl via her Ring camera was widely shared on social media.

In another example, a couple from Leeds were watched thousands of times without their knowledge.

The guidance is supported by consumer group Which? and comes ahead of expected changes in the law designed to make smart devices safer.

“We are working hard to make the UK the safest place to be online and want everyone to have confidence in their connected devices,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman.

“I recently announced new laws to improve the security standards of internet-connected household products which will hold companies manufacturing and selling these devices to account.

"I urge everyone who owns a smart product to follow the NCSC guidance to make sure their device is secure.”

Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock


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