When Kentucky parents Heather and Adam Schreck heard a man’s voice in their 10-month-old daughter’s room they thought someone had broken into their home.
“I heard a voice. It was screaming at my daughter, ‘Wake up baby, wake up baby,’ and then a long scream. I was terrified. I didn’t know if someone was in the house,” Heather Schreck told ABC News.
Panicked, her husband ran into the nursery only to find it was a virtual intruder, speaking through the baby monitor connected to the Internet.
The Schrecks said the hacker then began remotely moving the camera’s swivel head, getting a full view of the baby’s room and of them.
“The camera then turned and looked at me, and then [the voice] started screaming some obscenities at me,” Adam Schreck said.
What happened to the Schrecks has happened to other parents.
Last summer, a Houston couple says a hacker began yelling obscenities at their two-year-old through the baby monitor and in 2010, mom Stacy Kass saw her neighbor putting his son to sleep through her baby monitor when the cameras frequencies became crossed.
Experts say baby monitors connected to the Internet are convenient, allowing parents to keep track of their kids from anywhere, but they are tempting targets for hackers.
Parents are urged to change their monitor’s username and password from the default and frequently update both.
Security updates are also important so parents should regularly check the manufacturer’s website.
The Schrecks have changed their router and passwords but are still using the same baby monitor.
“I don’t know how long they were watching her or how many times this person was watching her and listening to our conversations,” Heather Schreck said, adding, “Just the emotion of thinking what they were thinking is absolutely terrifying.”
Experts say that because the Schrecks unplugged their camera after hearing the voice, they lost all data and hopes of tracking the hacker.