A baby monitor sold at Kmart is in the spotlight as claims it can be hacked circulate on social media.
In a widely shared Facebook post, an unnamed grandmother urges parents to exercise caution with the Mirabella baby monitor after, it's alleged, one of the smart devices scanned her grandson's room in the middle of the night.
"If anyone has this baby monitor from Kmart throw it out now as over the last few weeks my son and his partner have noticed it change position," reads the Facebook post.
"Last night my son woke up at 2am to find it on and scanning the crib and their room really slowly where they were all sleeping."
'It has been hacked'
The post alleges that the woman's son continued to watch the monitor and when he looked directly at the camera it immediately turned off.
"It is not motion sensored, it has been hacked," warns the post, which also includes a warning that hackers need access to the device owner's Wi-Fi to access the camera.
Alongside the post is a photo of the Mirabella Bebe Wi-Fi 1080P Full HD Pan and Tilt Baby Camera that was allegedly "hacked".
Mirabella responds to alleged hacking incident
A spokesperson from Mirabella told Yahoo News Australia that any customer who experiences a hacking incident should report it to Mirabella so the company can examine the baby monitor for any faults or tampering.
"We understand that security, privacy and safety are serious concerns for consumers and particularly, parents with children. Our cameras/baby monitors are manufactured to international industry standards for a global market and to the best of our knowledge, a secure device," said the spokesperson.
"To date, we have received one hacking claim back in November 2021 which we investigated and found no suspicious or external activity. We are not aware of any other hacking problems with our cameras in Australia or around the world," the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson also pointed out that the baby monitor in question has activity zoning which can be activated via an app and can't be manually turned on or off.
"The camera also cannot turn on or off as the post suggests. It will have a red light if the room is dark for night vision and that red light will turn off if the bedroom lights are turned on."
Earlier claim of hacked baby monitor
The 2021 incident that the Mirabella spokesperson referred to occurred when a Melbourne mum claimed she woke in the middle of the night and heard a strange man's voice speaking over her child's baby monitor.
"My partner Daniel and I were sleeping, everything was quiet and dark," the Melbourne mum told Kidspot at the time.
"Then I heard it – a really deep man's voice that doesn't belong to anyone that I know. Out of the blue, I heard him say, 'Mmmm... that's a cute one.' I was frozen. I was so scared," she claimed.
Following the alleged incident, the mother returned the monitor to Kmart for a refund.
How to prevent your baby monitor from getting hacked
While stories of baby monitors being accessed by strangers can be terrifying for new parents, there are several ways you can prevent your child's monitor from being vulnerable to hackers.
The first is to change the default passwords, and ensure you use unique, complex passwords created by a random password generator, such as LastPass.
This also goes for your Wi-Fi password if you opt for a Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor, and do not re-use passwords across multiple accounts or devices.
Secondly, enabling automatic updates at least once a month will ensure that firmware is up-to-date to maintain the security of your baby monitor.
The third way to protect your monitor from hackers is to consider what capabilities you really need from the device, such as remote viewing or even a live camera stream – there are plenty of digital baby cameras out there that do not require Wi-Fi access.
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