Canadian Police Issue Security Warning After Webcam In Nursery Hacked

| by Jordan Smith

A webcam in a baby’s nursery in a home in southwest Ontario, Canada, was hacked into earlier this month, according to a CBC report.

A parent was rocking the baby to sleep on July 7 when the camera, used by the parents to monitor the room, was hacked.

According to police, the camera played strange music and the parent heard a voice, which informed them they were being watched.

“Obviously it’s going to be disturbing,” said Liz Melvin with the Ontario Provincial Police.

Police confirmed the Internet router in the home had been hacked, blaming the incident on lax security.

“Be aware that potentially nothing is secure if it’s connected to the Internet,” said Melvin.

The police added that improving security practices by checking passwords, as well as covering webcams when not in use, were two of the options to avoid a similar incident.

Previous incidents have taken place involving a similar security breach.

In November, a suspected hacking operation based in Russia managed to gain access to a large number of live feeds through webcams in several countries. This included hundreds in Canada and four Ottawa, reported the Ottawa Citizen.

Again, the hacking was made possible by lax security. The Citizen reported that all cameras involved were using default passwords like "admin" or "1234." Hackers then put the live feeds on a website.

“The default password that any Internet-connected device ships with is trivial to locate. Leaving the default in place allows this type of site to be created through very basic scripts. After a simple web crawl and login attempt you can access these devices remotely and most likely without the owners’ knowledge,” Mark Nunnikhoven of Internet security firm Trend Micro said.

Avast Research found in a survey that of 2,000 households questioned, 50 percent continued to use default passwords shipped with the equipment, or had no password protection at all.

“Unsecured routers create an easy entry point for hackers to attack,” Vince Steckler, chief executive officer at Avast, said. “Our research revealed that a vast majority of home routers in the U.S. aren’t secure. If a router is not properly secured, cyber criminals can easily gain access to an individual's personal information, including financial information, user names and passwords, photos and browsing history.”

Sources: CBC, Ottawa Citizen / Photo credit: Tabitha Blue/Flickr, Wikimedia Commons