There are horror stories abound about baby monitors being hacked, and as a mother, I know how easily that churn the stomach of parents and skyrocket our anxiety to unhealthy levels.
Now, that isn’t to say you should throw your baby monitor out as they are still a great way to keep a watch on your baby whether you’re home or not. It’s important to learn more about the situation and the steps you can take to protect your family without sacrificing a quality baby monitoring system.
In this article
- Are Baby Monitors Secure?
- Can Non-WiFi Monitors be Hacked?
- How to Tell if Your Baby Monitor is Hacked?
- Can VTech Baby Monitors be Hacked?
- Can Motorola Baby Monitors be Hacked?
- Can Owlet be Hacked?
- How do I Keep my Baby Monitor from Being Hacked?
- Most Secure Baby Monitors
In a Hurry? Here are the Top 3 Most Secure Monitors
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Are Baby Monitors Secure?
This is a rather broad question that doesn’t have a definite answer. The security of a baby monitor depends on a number of factors.
Many of the newer digital baby monitors are built with enhanced security compared to their older counterparts. This is just one level of security, however. You also have to take into account your own modem’s security if you’re using a WiFi-based baby monitor.
In spite of the potential dangers, digital baby monitors have numerous benefits that any parent would enjoy taking advantage of. Of course, it’s important to shop around for models that emphasize safety so that you have a good initial barrier in terms of security.
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Can Non-WiFi Monitors be Hacked?
For some of you, this answer may come as a surprise: yes, non-WiFi baby monitors can be hacked.
Hacking isn’t just about getting your username, email, and password information. Smart hackers can still find a way to get inside of your common baby monitor, but it just takes a few different (oftentimes riskier) steps.
Analog Baby Monitors
Let’s take a look at the classic baby monitors. Many of them are intercom-like, walkie-talkie devices. They’re straightforward and offer a non-complicated setup. However, this simplicity allows anyone within range to find your frequency and jump right on it.
These types of baby monitors are among the least secure considering how easy it is to cut into the frequency. Even so, a hacker has to be rather driven and bold to access this monitor considering they must be close by to do so.
Think about how far you can go in your own home with the monitor before you lose signal. That should give you an idea of how close a would-be hacker needs to be to get in the middle.
If there’s any bright side to this one, it’s that analog monitors only grant a hacker access to what you see. Meaning, they can’t get into anything else like any personal information from the internet.
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Digital Baby Monitors
Some digital monitors are different from WiFi monitors as they utilize a technology known as Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). This means that the frequency hops around at random, which can make it far more difficult for a hacker to latch on and get into the baby monitor.
You can read more about this popular technology if you’re interested. Although it’s extremely difficult to hack, a high-class and serious hacker may still find a workaround, but it seems to be a rare occurrence.
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How to Tell if Your Baby Monitor is Hacked?
It’s not always easy to tell if your baby monitor is compromised. Unfortunately, you may not know a hacker is breaking in remotely until it’s already done, so you must pay attention to the signs.
Does your monitor have a rotating camera? If so, check to see if it’s rotating on its own or in a pattern that’s unusual. That’s another obvious sign that someone else is in control of the monitor.
For the baby monitors that require you to create security settings, take a look at them to make sure they’re still the same. It’s not uncommon for hackers to change things around in your settings.
A giant warning sign is if your username and/or password is changed and you don’t remember ever changing them.
It’s unfortunate that one of the main ways parents learn about a hacked baby monitor is by hearing some creep speaking to their child.
As I said in the beginning, there are many horror stories out there (feel free to read some, if you’d like). This is scary, no doubt about that. It’s also a red flag to tell you it’s time to disconnect and work on preventing that from happening ever again.
Can VTech Baby Monitors be Hacked?
VTech tends to offer more affordable baby monitors, but thankfully, not all value-driven items have weak security systems.
The brand usually utilizes Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) technology, which helps their baby monitors transmit over a secure, encrypted network signal.
Likewise, with anything technological-related, there is a chance that a seasoned, pro hacker may have the tools to hack through that encryption, but it isn’t known to happen frequently enough to panic about it.
To further put you at ease, VTech didn’t make it on the list of baby monitors that had known hacking vulnerabilities.
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Can Motorola Baby Monitors be Hacked?
Motorola products, like VTech baby monitors, are very clear about their security system. When you’re looking at a Motorola baby monitor, you’ll notice that they explain the various audio and video encryption capabilities.
With this type of encryption, it makes it harder for hackers to try to break through and gain access. This is because the signal tends to be hidden or tough to notice.
I feel the need to reiterate a point I’ve made a few times now though: it’s not impossible to hack, just more difficult.
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Can Owlet be Hacked?
The Owlet baby monitor is a popular, if not expensive, product. At first glance, it has everything you’d want in a monitor, especially for newborns or premature babies since it checks on their heart rate, oxygen levels, and more.
There’s not much to be said about the security aspect though. They state that you should connect to a reliable WiFi network with a password, but they don’t touch on their own encryption.
Back in 2016, a computer security researcher made a discovery that the WiFi network that linked the base station of the Owlet to the sensor device lacked any sort of encryption. As long as someone was within range, they can snoop into the network.
It’s unsure if this has been fixed as I couldn’t find any statement from Owlet on the matter, but with that proof, it seems like the product lacks the encryption found in other quality baby monitors.
How do I Keep my Baby Monitor from Being Hacked?
Even though hacking is possible, there are a few preventative steps you can take to help enhance the security in your baby monitor.
Change the Defaults
When you receive your baby monitor, there are likely default settings such as a default login and password. If so, you need to change them right away.
These are used for your benefit in the beginning so that you can begin setting the monitor up with no difficulties. Once everything is set up, there’s no reason to keep the default login information as it’s usually too easy for a hacker to get by.
Change your username to something only you (and anyone else in the household) will know. Also, don’t forget to come up with a strong, reliable password that’s tough to crack.
Secure your Router
If you’re using a WiFi baby monitor, then the biggest security issue you face is your own router. If a hacker can get into the baby monitor, the hacker can get into everything else connected to that router.
As such, keep it secure. Remember to apply all the necessary firmware updates so that your router is up-to-date on everything.
Also, be sure to disable remote access. This way, the only way someone should be able to configure your network is by being inside your own home.
Change Camera Port
If you check the camera port on your baby monitor, it’s set at a default of 80. Since it’s a default, hackers will typically target it first. You can readily change that setting to something higher, even scaling over 8000.
Disable Remote Access
Likewise, with removing remote access to your router, you should consider disabling it altogether. Yes, remote access gives you the opportunity to monitor your baby when you’re out at work or otherwise away from the house. However, it also opens you up to vulnerabilities over the internet.
If it’s not necessary, then disable that access. For those of you who really want to use that feature, just be sure you’ve secured the monitor in the other ways I’ve mentioned.
Watch the Logs
Most baby monitors these days create a log that details the access. It doesn’t hurt to check on that log every now and then to see if there’s been unauthorized access. In this case, it’s a clear sign someone’s trying to meddle.
Most Secure Baby Monitors
If you’re still interested in buying a WiFi baby monitor, then consider looking at three of my personal recommendations. These WiFi monitors offer ideal security that works alongside your own router’s secured system to effectively keep intruders out.
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For those of you with Alexa, it’s compatible with that as well.
When it comes to security, there are numerous protocols installed in the device to keep intruders out and your data secured.
Motorola devised a versatile baby monitor that can support up to four cameras. It has two-way audio, night vision, and the camera features movement such as left to right, up and down, and zoom capabilities.
Its voice enabled as well for Google Assistant and Alexa.
This baby monitor only grants remote access to the camera via the username and password you create, however. Camera connections are otherwise blocked on open networks, so you have to be on an encrypted network in order to use it in the first place.
My final recommendation when it comes to quality secured WiFi baby monitors is this camera from Lefun. It’s easy to set up via 2.4G WiFi connection. This pans 350° and tilts 100°. It’s another monitor that offers a good night vision feature too.
This boasts quality two-way audio while also being compatible with numerous devices such as tablets, PC, and phones. You can set up Alexa with this one as well.
As for security, the baby monitor uses financial level encryption technology. This lets you connect on any devices and keep your data protected.
Baby monitors can be an absolute joy to have as they keep you informed on how your baby is doing. Of course, you may stress all over again once you read about the many stories of hackers targeting baby monitors.
Even so, there are ways that you can help increase the security of your baby monitor by addressing your router, passwords, etc. You can also take a look at some of my recommendations for WiFi-based monitors to get an idea of what to look for.