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Security Flaw Makes Baby Monitors Appear Possessed

For sale: baby monitor, very haunted.


Being a parent is terrifying enough without some jag-off hacking into your baby monitor and wreaking Paranormal Activity-type havoc, but that’s exactly what happened recently to the Schreck family of Ohio– and they’re not the first to be affected by a little-known security flaw in Foscam’s IP cameras.

Adam and Heather Schreck say they were woken earlier this month by the sound of a man’s voice in their daughter’s room. Heather described to Fox what happened when she used her cell phone to check the camera in the nursery:

About the time I saw it moving, I also heard a voice again start screaming at my daughter. He was screaming, ‘Wake up baby. Wake up baby.’ Then just screaming at her trying to wake her up.

Adam ran into the baby’s room, and the camera swiveled to look at him. “Then it screamed at me […]Some bad things, some obscenities. So I unplugged the camera.”

Thankfully the Schrecks are more level-headed than me, so rather than calling an exorcist they concluded correctly that the camera on their baby monitor had been hacked. Sadly the Schrecks aren’t the first family to violated by a creep with a good understanding of firmware vulnerability– a similar incident involving Foscam cameras also occurred in 2013. Forbes explained at the time that the security breach had already been reported:

Security researchers Sergey Shekyan and Artem Harutyunyan of Qualys, Inc. (Shekyan has since moved to Shape Security.) […] revealed that Foscam had a firmware vulnerability that would allow someone to take control of the company’s products remotely and said that thousands of Foscam cameras in the U.S. were vulnerable.

Forbes hypothesized that Shekyan and Harutyunyan’s research didn’t receive more attention since consumers don’t automatically equate “Foscam cameras” to “baby monitors.” Foscam claimed to have fixed the vulnerability last June with software updates, but unless the Schreck’s do indeed have a very active poltergeist, then it would seem there’s still work to be done.

Foscam, if the Screck’s baby develops the ability to swivel her head 360 degrees, then you’re off the hook. Until then, get your act together: this shit is scary.

(TIME and Forbes via Jezebel, image via Christopher Lance)

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