In 2013, Miss Teen USA was the target of a scary and horrible event; a hacker hijacked the webcams in her home and tried to extort nude photographs and videos from her using blackmail to back up his demands. The 19 year old man victimizing Cassidy Wolf was found to have done to her to many other women. This leaves me not only disturbed, but curious.
If someone can hack into your webcam, what else can they hack into that you’d not expect. Webcams are obviously connected to the internet, but what all has given us a false sense of security? Baby monitors, yes baby monitors. I came across a horrible story that involved a little girl, a pedophile, and a baby monitor.
Baby monitors come in two different types, the kind that can connect to the World Wide Web and the type that can be completely disconnected from the internet. The monitors that connect to the internet that provide not only audio, but video have become a target of hackers’ bad intentions world-wide. Some versions of the monitors can even be accessed via an app on your cell phone or device so you can check in your little ones while away.
One disturbing case of baby monitor hacking is that of a family in Houston, Texas. Marc and Lauren Gilbert have a 2 year old daughter named Allyson. One night the father found himself over hearing what he was mortified to discover. A ‘British sounding’ man was cursing at his daughter from her bedroom. The parents discovered that her monitor, a wireless version, is what they targeted as the source of this voice.
The only silver-lining of this story is the fact that Allyson is deaf. She never heard the man spouting abuse from her monitor. Though her parents know of the disturbing thing her daughter had happening, they also know this little girl is blissfully ignorant because of her disability.
From webcam to baby monitor there is a lesson to be learned here, if you use devices that connect to the internet you can never be truly safe. Hackers are always trying to find that next way to get your information or get to you. In these two cases, the hackers are predators on their victims for sexual reasons, but hackers also can get to personal information like bank accounts and social security numbers. Often times this is how your identity is stolen, so use these stories to take care of yourself and be careful.