Mom Finds Daughters’ Room Streaming On Live App Via Hacked Webcam
No nightmare can be worse than to know your private moments are being captured on webcam secretly and streamed to thousands of users online.
A Houston, Texas, mother called it her “worst nightmare” when she recently found that a webcam that was kept in her two daughters’ bedroom was hacked and streaming everything live online for others to watch. The mother says she installed the cameras throughout her house about four years ago to keep an eye on her now 8-year-old twin daughters and her 6-year-old daughter.
She told ABC News that she discovered the chilling live feed when another concerned mother posted a screenshot in a Facebook group for Houston mothers in an effort to alert the parents. She immediately turned off the camera system. The family plans to reconfigure all of their passwords before turning it back on.
“We have security cameras to protect them,” said Jennifer, a mother of three, including the two 8-year-old girls who share the bedroom, who asked that ABC News to identify her only by her first name. “I feel like I’ve failed. … People are watching my kids in their home, dressing, sleeping, playing.” She added, “We didn’t protect them. We actually put them in harm’s way.”
Shelby Ivies, another mother who lives more than 2,000 miles away in Oregon, was the one who made the shocking discovery on Sunday and wrote the Facebook post about the webcam hack.
“I was in tears, thinking of the violation [Jennifer] must feel,” Ivies told ABC News today.
Ivies, a mother of two in Keizer, Oregon, told ABC News that last weekend she and her son were looking at satellite images of Earth online when she decided to download the free app Live Camera Viewer.
As she scrolled past different images, Ivies came across a live stream of a little girl’s room in Houston. She said that the location was mentioned at the top of the page. Ivies said she immediately created the Facebook post and shared it on news outlets’ pages, in mom groups, and in comment sections. The image was shared more than 4,000 times, she said.
Jennifer said that she contacted Ivies to find out where the live stream could be found.
“It had been running since July 27, maybe even longer,” she said.
The streaming had 571 likes, which means that at least that many people had been watching the feed.
According to Jennifer, someone hacked into her system as one of her 8-year-old daughter had been playing a video game and wanted to play with friends.
“Never did I dream that they would be getting into our camera system, into our internet,” the mother said. “From what I understand, there’s tons of unprotected servers out there these kids are going on and basically people are waiting for them,” she said.
Jennifer said that security experts had told her hackers would have been able to locate the family’s IP address of her daughter’s iPad, track their monitor and computer system, and then access their modem as well as their DVR system, which was linked to cameras throughout the house.
This is something University of Houston IT expert Mary Dickerson said happens too often.
“If you don’t change the default settings, then the same way they came from the manufacturer for everyone who bought one of those devices. Which means there are thousands of people around the world who know what that user ID and password is,” Dickerson said.
Other than changing the default log-in settings to your system, Dickerson suggests covering cameras if you’re not in home and not using them.
Jennifer and Ivies are now friends.
“She pretty much has kind of saved our lives, kind of silly as that sounds,” she said. “She’s protected us.”
Source: ABC News