Without adequate security protections in place, hackers can use the camera and microphone to spy on babies and use the speaker to communicate with them.The Shodan search engine is able to capture images from these baby monitors by using a bot to trawl the Internet looking for cameras that use something called the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).Instead, the voice was coming from the camera-equipped baby monitor overlooking the infant’s crib.Gilbert’s baby monitor was hacked in August 2013 and since then reports of unwanted intrusions through Internet-connected devices have proliferated. consumer watchdog launched an investigation this week into four of the baby monitor companies that it believes are compromising the safety of children. “In one instance a couple in Indiana heard someone singing The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ to their baby and making sexual noises through the monitor.”[Related: How to Protect Baby Monitors from Hackers]The sexual aspect of such hacks is of “incredible concern” to Menin and she hopes the investigation will force companies to be held accountable for potentially deceptive claims that the devices help to keep babies safe.
"Shodan doesn't login to any devices and doesn't try to circumvent any authentication," Shodan founder John Matherly tells .
"All information is collected from publicly-accessible devices the same way that Google does."But the problem is much bigger than a script used by a search engine.
Security researchers agree with Menin that the main fault lies with the device manufacturers and the users being complacent about the potential threats.“A webcam that has been configured to be public and open isn’t really ‘vulnerable,’ it’s just open and doing what it is supposed to do,” Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure, tells .
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned that people in the UK with webcams using weak passwords or without any password protection, will be vulnerable to hackers.
An estimated 35,000 of such cameras were sold in the UK last year.