Webcam Nightmare: Mom Finds Daughters' Room Featured on Live App

She said another mother 2,000 miles away had alerted her to the live stream.

ByABC News
August 10, 2016, 6:36 PM

— -- A Houston, Texas, mother said her "worst nightmare" was realized recently when she learned that someone had hacked into a webcam positioned in her two daughters' bedroom and had been streaming their private goings-on live online for thousands to watch.

"We have security cameras to protect them," said Jennifer, a mother of three who asked that ABC News not use her last name. "I feel like I've failed. ... People are watching my kids in their home, dressing, sleeping, playing."

She told ABC News today that she found out about the live stream when a friend informed her that someone had posted a picture of the girls' room on a Houston mothers' group on Facebook in an effort to track down the family and warn them.

The post belonged to Shelby Ivie, another mother more than 2,000 miles away in Oregon, who had made the shocking discovery Sunday.

"I was in tears, thinking of the violation [Jennifer] must feel," Ivie told ABC News today.

Ivie, a mother of two in Keizer, Oregon, told ABC News today that last weekend she and her son were looking at satellite images of Earth online. As she searched for additional live satellite feeds, she came across the free app Live Camera Viewer, which she then downloaded.

Ivie said as she scrolled past different images, she came across a live stream of a little girl's room in Houston. The location, she said, was set at the top of the page. Ivie said she immediately created the Facebook post and shared it on news outlets' pages, in comment sections and in mom groups. She said the image was shared more than 4,000 times.

Jennifer said that she reached out to Ivie to find out where the live stream could be found.

"It had been running since July 27, maybe even longer," she said.

We have security cameras to protect them. ... I feel like I've failed.

According to Jennifer, one of her 8-year-old daughters had been playing a computer game and wanted to play with friends. When a prompt requested the name of a server, her daughter searched for one online because she didn't know the family server's name. She said her daughter was able to find an unprotected server online and used it.

"From what I understand, there's tons of unprotected servers out there these kids are going on and basically people are waiting for them," she said.

Jennifer said that security experts had told her hackers would have been able to find the family's IP address off her daughter's iPad, locate their monitor and computer system, and then access their modem as well as their DVR system, which was linked to cameras throughout the house.

"They had [571] likes," she said of the live stream, "so I know for a fact 571 people have been staring at my kids, probably more."

Jennifer said today her children were no longer allowed on the internet.

"I just can't chance it again," she said, before sharing advice to other parents.

"Nowadays, everyone wants to play with people they don't know," Jennifer said. "You don't know who these people are. You also don't know if these servers are protected. ... Always watch to see what your kids are doing."

She and Ivie are now friends.

"She pretty much has kind of saved our lives, kind of silly as that sounds," Jennifer said. "She's protected us."

ABC News' Michael Kreisel and Gina Sunseri contributed to this story.