Houston (CBS Houston) — A Texas couple was terrified when they entered their 2-year-old daughter’s room to discover the baby monitor shouting sexualized expletives at the little girl.
According to an ABC News report, Marc and Lauren Gilbert heard a “British or European accent” coming through their daughter Allyson’s bedroom baby monitor. The voice was calling the sleeping girl an “effing moron” and yelling at her to “wake up you little slut.”
An anonymous hacker had apparently taken over the baby monitor.
The Gilberts say that the hacker was able to take control of the device, and even began using the little girl’s name because it was written on the wall of her bedroom. The sleeping girl was not disturbed because she was born deaf, having to depend on a cochlear implant for hearing.
“Right away I knew something was wrong,” Marc Gilbert told ABC News.
The hacker began shouting expletives at the shocked Gilbert parents as they entered the room to investigate the strange voice yelling at their daughter. The hacker then called Lauren Gilbert a “b****” and Marc Gilbert a “stupid moron.”
Marc Gilbert then immediately pulled the baby monitor device from the wall.
“At that point I ran over and disconnected it and tried to figure out what happened,” he told ABC News. “[I] Couldn’t see the guy. All you could do was hear his voice and [that] he was controlling the camera.”
Gilbert said it was “somewhat of a blessing” that his sleeping daughter’s hearing impairment kept her from hearing the hacker’s expletive-laden language.
Dave Chronister, who is the managing partner of Parameter Security, but who did not consult the Gilbert family, works for an ethical hacking company that is familiar with these types of intrusive hacks. Chronister tells CBSNews.com that the Gilberts were using a speaker-equipped webcam that was compromised by the anonymous hacker.
“In this case, what it sounds like is that they set this camera up, and someone cracked into the wireless network,” Chronister told CBSNews.com.
Chronister says that cracking into these webcams is similar to breaking into a website: if a password is not set, or is too weak, the website that is used to manage the device can be compromised by an outside party.
Parents can protect their homes by establishing a strong password. CBS News reports that using Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) to set up a password utilizes better encryption standards and is very difficult to crack, especially in combination with a tough password to crack.