How to Thwart Nanny Cam Hackers

What you need to do to keep hackers from spying on your private moments.

ByABC News
April 6, 2015, 11:27 AM

— -- Imagine having a stranger spying on your child as they sleep, playing them eerie music and even posting images of them online.

The hacking of nanny cameras sound like something out of a horror film but has become an all-too-common occurrence as more people rely on the surveillance cameras but don't take the necessary steps to secure them, experts say.

A Rochester, Minnesota, family told NBC affiliate KTTC on Friday that they noticed something was awry when their Foscam surveillance camera began playing strange songs at night. They told KTTC they traced the IP address to the Netherlands and discovered images of their family were posted online.

And in February, a San Antonio nanny reported hearing someone talking through a camera monitor, according to ABC affiliate KSAT.

The incidents are just the latest in a string of hacks that can often be prevented, Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert to Intel Security, told ABC News.

"I recommend registering your devices with the company that provides it to you. That means if they discover a vulnerability, they will usually ping everybody's email and let them know they need to update their device," Siciliano said.

"Another thing you can do too is set up a Google alert for the brand and if a researcher publishes a report that says, 'Hey I discovered this is vulnerable,' you may find out before the manufacturer does," Siciliano said.

In addition to registering the device, Siciliano recommends making sure users change the default username and password to something that uses a string of different characters.

Siciliano said it's important that users' home Wi-Fi is encrypted and they ensure the firmware (that's the hardware's software) stays up-to-date.

Foscam, the manufacturer of the popular surveillance cameras, agreed with the above tips and also added that users should frequently check their camera's log to make sure there hasn't been any unauthorized access.

"Foscam cameras have embedded logs which allow you to see exactly which IP addresses are accessing the camera," the company said in a statement on its website. "You will be able to tell if an outsider has gained access to your camera."