The Eyes Of A Stranger: Could Someone Be Using Your Baby Monitor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Eyes Of A Stranger: Could Someone Be Using Your Baby Monitor To Spy On You?

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Technology has made the lives of parents so much easier over the years, but that same technology may be leaving you vulnerable.

It's an issue that didn't really hit home for Heather Thoburn of Spokane until last night.

"I didn't even have time to think, I just panicked and screamed," she told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.

Heather and her husband had just put their two little girls to bed and were heading to bed themselves when she looked at the video monitor for their 6-month-old daughter.

"I saw hands going into the crib and running over the baby's back so I yelled to my husband, ‘Someone's in the room with our baby!'" she explained.

Her husband ran in to the room – but nobody was there and their daughter was safely sound asleep.

"We just couldn't piece it together right away," she said.

But when they looked closer they realized they weren't looking into their daughter's room at all. It turns out the camera over their crib had disconnected and they were picking up a neighbors signal. Without realizing it, they had been looking right into the house of another mother soothing her own child – from the comfort of their own bedroom.

"It's a little scary thinking that other people can be watching our baby," she added.

KHQ's Kelsey Watts spoke with some of the Thoburn's neighbors and none of them had video baby monitors. In fact, one of them said she decided to buy an audio-only model for this very reason.

By our calculations based on families with babies living nearby, the radio frequency was being sent out to an area of roughly 900 feet around the home; anyone living nearby – or even driving down the street – could pick it up.

The good news is neither Spokane Police or the Spokane County Sheriff's Department have heard of any criminals hacking into the frequency to spy on local families, but we learned, unfortunately it's very easy to do.

It's always a good idea to do your research to see if you can lock down the frequency on the video monitor you use and always remember to turn it off when you're not home. Also, you may want to consider using a monitor that runs on a password protected Wi-Fi network – or one that doesn't use video of all.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the issue of technology and safety. Each model will have its own ups and downs and you have to choose what's best for your family.

 

 

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