CBS2-Header-Logo WFAN 1010WINS WCBS tiny WLNYLogo

News

Congressman: Toughen Laws To Punish Baby-Monitor Hackers

Cybercriminals Watching Kids In Bedrooms
Rep. Steve Israel (file/photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rep. Steve Israel (file/photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TRI-STATE NEWS HEADLINES

From our newsroom to your inbox weekday mornings at 9AM.
Sign Up

MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Computer hackers are invading baby monitors, watching and talking to children in their bedrooms. Now, a Long Island congressman wants to strengthen laws to ensure such cybercriminals are punished, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

“We are learning of incidents where people have actually hacked into Wi-Fi baby monitors,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) “They’ve been watching children. They’ve been watching parents.”

Israel said current laws are outdated and ambiguous, something he believes should be corrected.

“The law is not necessarily catching up with the technology, so we’ve got jurisdictional issues,” he explained. “If someone finds out their baby monitor had been hacked into, there’s a big question as to whether that’s something that the local police will investigate or a cybercrimes division will investigate.”

Earlier this month, the Gilberts, a family in Texas, found that a hacker gained access to their video baby monitor and was yelling at their 2-year-old daughter by name, having read it off her bedroom wall.

“He was saying, ‘Wake up, Allyson, you little (expletive),” said the girl’s father, Marc Gilbert.

“It felt like somebody broke into our house.”

CBS 2’s Dana Tyler also reported that hackers have been gaining access to devices that control door locks, lights and home appliances from their smartphones.

Security researches found flaws in devices made by VeraLite and Insteon.

“Basically, what I can do is open up any of these rooms that have been configured or associated with this device and control them, either turning them on or turning them off,” one security researcher said.

Insteon said it has since fixed the issues identified by the researchers. VeraLite stressed that successful hacks on its devices require use of an insecure Wi-Fi connection.

Security experts advise people with such devices to always use a strong password on their Internet connections, keep their software updated and never click on links from strangers.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories