Mother Horrified to Find Livestream Footage of Her Daughters’ Bedroom Online
A Texas mother thought she was taking every precaution when she installed security cameras in her home. But those cameras wound up opening the door for creepy hackers to set up a livestream of her 8-year-old daughters’ bedrooms on the Internet.
Many of us use baby monitors or iPhone apps or video cameras of some sort to keep an eye on our kids, especially if the kids are small.
A mother in a different state found the livestream.
The girls’ mother, who asked to be identified only as Jennifer, actually found out about the livestream of her daughters’ bedroom from a completely different mother she didn’t even know.
Shelby Ivie, a mother of two in Oregon, came across the photos by accident. She was looking at satellite photos of the Earth and she downloaded an app called “Live Camera Viewer” on her phone. That app lets people look at footage from other people’s cameras. Theoretically, the cameras viewed on the app are meant to be submitted by their owners. So if you wanted people around the world to be able to admire your birdfeeder or your mountain view or your litter of puppies or something, you could put your camera on the app.
Ivie knew something was wrong right away when she flipped to a camera showing live footage of what was obviously the bedroom of two little girls. They weren’t in it at the time, but it had two pink twin beds and was full of toys and was clearly being lived in. It even gave the camera’s Houston, Texas, location at the top of the page.
The other mother raised the Mom Signal to find the camera’s owner.
Ivie knew there was no possible good explanation for two little girls’ bedroom to be on that app, so she took screenshots and started posting about it to the news and on Facebook, hoping to get to the bottom of the story. (If it was being done without the parents’ knowledge, the parents needed to know. If it was being done with their knowledge, the parents should be investigated.)
Jennifer saw the photo on a Facebook group for Houston moms, and she recognized it right away as her twin daughters’ room. She’d set up the cameras four years earlier.
The Livestream that Ivie found had started on July 27 and been liked 571 times. Ivie found it on August 6.
Hackers got in through a public server.
Web experts are pretty sure hackers got into Jennifer’s cameras because one of her 8-year-olds was trying to play an online game, so she signed onto an unprotected public server to do it. Once she went on, hackers could find her IP address from her iPad, and then access the modem, DVR, and cameras in the house.
Jennifer is obviously horrified by this. At least 571 people were watching her kids’ bedroom on the Internet.
“We have security cameras to protect them,” she said. “I feel like I’ve failed. … People are watching my kids in their home, dressing, sleeping, playing.”
The camera has since been secured and her kids are no longer allowed to use the Intenret.
Good on Ivie though, for noticing something was wrong and doing something to help. At least 571 other people had seen it and not done anything.
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(Image: iStockPhoto / KatarzynaBialasiewicz)