Security camera expert gives tips on securing baby monitors - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Security camera expert gives tips to prevent baby monitor hacking

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Security camera expert, Bryan Lagarde, discusses ways to prevent baby monitor hacking. Security camera expert, Bryan Lagarde, discusses ways to prevent baby monitor hacking.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A local security camera expert said there are ways to make life difficult for hackers trying to invade baby monitor systems. News that a family in Ohio discovered a man yelling at their baby after hacking the monitor has parents in this area worried.

"He was screaming, 'wake up baby, wake up baby,' and a long 'ah,'" said Heather Schreck of the terrifying ordeal that unfolded in her 10-month-old daughter's nursery in the middle of the night.

"You can easily intrude on someone's private life, and obviously spook some people," said Bryan LaGarde, a security camera expert who runs ProjectNOLA, a system of cameras in the city that often catch crimes in progress. He spoke about the cases of hackers peering into baby monitors.

"It's been very easy for way too long for people to be able to get to these baby monitors," said LaGarde.

We went to The Baby's Room, a shop in Metairie where monitors that allow people to watch their infants on smartphones and computers are sold.

"[The are] different types of cameras you can use in your nurseries that can be attached to your smartphone," said store manager Gina Gabb as she showed some of the monitors on the shelves.

But what Gabb sells is a different brand than the monitors in the recent hacking cases. Still, she is outraged.

"I was thinking it's very creepy, very creepy - and it's scary, very scary to think that somebody could be looking at your child," said Gabb.

The camera that was hacked in Ohio is manufactured by Foscam.

Wi-fi security experts said it's very important to make sure that your firmware is updated to make it more difficult for would-be hackers.

"The firmware is the software that runs the camera," LaGarde said. "Now it's easy enough to say upgrade your firmware, but a lot of people don't understand what that means, and they certainly don't know how to upgrade their firmware. You normally have to go on to the manufacturer's website, download a piece of software and figure out how to get that piece of software on to a camera that you got."

And he said it's critical to change the monitoring system's default username and password.

"I think now that I'm aware of when I go to purchase these items to see if there are other things that they can do so that they can't break into their homes and be able to look at these things, Gabb said.

LaGarde said hackers often find specific information about certain camera brands through a quick Internet search, and that helps them open a window into baby monitors, especially if the systems are left vulnerable.

However, he said hackers usually do not know whose baby they are watching through the monitors.

It is recommended that baby monitor users change their passwords and usernames frequently.

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