Baby monitors -- many now equipped with video cameras -- are considered a handy parenting tool, but what a Texas couple heard coming from their monitor was nothing short of terrifying.
Marc Gilbert of Houston told KTRK-TV the baby monitor for their 2-year-old daughter was hacked. As if that wasn't disturbing enough, what the voice said as their daughter slept is enough to chill the blood of any parent.
"He said, 'Wake up Allyson, you little s**t,'" Gilbert told KTRK, explaining that it "felt like somebody broke into our house."
The hacker was able to see Allyson while she slept, knowing what to call her because her name was above her bed. (Image source: KTRK-TV)
KTRK reported that the hacker said sexual things to the toddler as well.
"As a father, I'm supposed to protect her against people like this. So it's a little embarrassing to say the least but it's not going to happen again," Gilbert said.
This video camera monitor was able to move. Gilbert said he saw it turn upon him and his wife when they entered their daughter's room upon hearing a voice over the weekend. (Image source: KTRK-TV)
Fortunately, the little girl was not able to hear the hacker because she is deaf. Her father said they thankfully had her cochlear implants turned off so she "slept right through it."
After witnessing what was going on through the camera-enabled monitor, which runs through the family's Internet, Gilbert said he pulled the plug. Researching what might have happened, he told KTRK he believes the router and camera were both hacked.
Watch the report about the disturbing incident:
Gilbert wants to make other parents aware of this potential threat as more baby monitors and home security cameras are being connected to the Internet.
Although cameras linked to the Internet can be helpful for monitoring home activity while away (it has helped thwart robberies), users need to be aware of the security implications that come with enabling remote access to such a feed. As TheBlaze has reported in the past on several occasions, unsecured cameras can give strangers a peek into your home. It is important to follow set-up directions to secure cameras and also keep Internet networks protected as well.
Security expert Bill Ramsey with Cybertron International gave some basic tips on how to secure a monitor to KWCH-TV:
“You should always change default user names and passwords on any device that you buy,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey says change the passwords on your router and the device itself. And don't use a word out of the dictionary--make it hard.
"If your baby monitor is a wireless baby monitor, then you really need to set-up a very strong encryption for it to talk to the wireless router,” Ramsey said.
Finally, if your baby monitor is connected to a website, make sure you set-up a strong password on that site too.
As for the Gilberts, they don't plan on keeping the device around after this experience.
"I think we are going to go without the baby monitor now," he told ABC News.