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Mom Says Hacker Threatened To Kidnap Infant Son Over Baby Monitor

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Adults have all sorts of ambitions. Sometimes they want more prestigious professional positions.

Sometimes they long for deeper romantic connections, and other times they simply hope to live virtuous lives.

But when you become a parent, your ambitions tend to narrow. First and foremost, you find yourself yearning for your children’s safety.

It’s a universal desire and common anxiety that people with evil intentions can exploit. A young mother from Houston, Texas, understands exactly how that works.

According to KRPC, Ellen Rigney had only just given birth to their first child — a boy named Topper. Like most parents, she wanted to make sure that he was safe during the night.

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So they purchased a Nest camera system. These Wi-Fi enabled cameras have been billed as a relatively inexpensive way for families to keep an eye on their loved ones and their property.

Yet Rigney and her husband Nathan discovered a terrible downside of such systems. Though their ability to connect to the internet makes them incredibly flexible, it also leaves them vulnerable to tech-savvy ne’er-do-wells.

Are you wary of wifi enabled monitors?

In the early hours of Dec. 17, Rigney woke to hear her baby monitor beeping. At first, she thought it was an alert about the baby’s breathing.

Then she heard horrible, sexually tinged obscenities coming out of the speaker. The profanities turned her blood to ice.

“(My) immediate reaction was that there’s somebody in here, somebody’s in my son’s room!” Rigney said. “How did they get in there?”

But the worst was yet to come. Rigney recalled how the voice “said, ‘I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room.’”

Fortunately, that was completely false. Rigney and her husband raced into Topper’s room only to discover him safely in his crib.

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Suddenly, an old news story sprang into the terrified mother’s mind, a piece about hackers compromising a similar system of cameras. “We just had to figure out how to get (the Wi-Fi) shut down and shut down fast!” Rigney said.

“I kept telling (Nathan), ‘He’s not in here! Somebody’s hacking this!’”

Rigney said that they contacted Nest directly, but they weren’t satisfied with the company’s response. “It’s unnerving and unsettling,” she told NBC News.

“Something that is supposed to make you feel better and instead it makes you feel the opposite. It makes you feel invaded and uncomfortable.”

For its part, Nest responded, “We have seen instances where customers reused passwords that were previously exposed through breaches on other websites and published publicly … We are now also rolling out changes to proactively prevent customers from using a password compromised in a public breach as their Nest password.”

Rigney isn’t waiting, though. She promptly disconnected her camera system and threw it away.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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