back to article Possessed baby monitor shouts obscenities at Texas tot

A Texas father ripped out the baby video monitor he'd installed to watch over his two year-old daughter after he heard a British or European man using the device to address the child by name. Father of two Marc Gilbert told ABC News that he heard a male voice coming from inside his daughter's bedroom, calling out her name and …

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  1. Don Jefe

    British or European

    Seeing as how this guy is a Texan the voice could have been anything that wasn't Texan or Mexican. People in Texas aren't exactly known for their vast knowledge other cultures. This guy is a rare example in that he was able to seperate Britian from Europe; his wife probably watches Downton Abbey or he couldn't even have made a guess.

    Hacking a baby monitor is straight creepy though. I hadn't even considered that people would do that. I should've known better.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: British or European

      check this out.

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/08/baby-monitor-hacking-alarms-houston-parents/

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: British or European

      At the risk of sending all the Daily Mail reading middle Englanders into fits, the British ARE Europeans.

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: British or European

        Anonymous Coward of 02:04 GMT, not all British are European; for example, Falkland Islanders are British, but not European.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: British or European

          Well, that's splitting hairs. People from French overseas territories are also French and not European, but you don't get people saying "French or European"

          In the particular case of accents, a British accent is very distinct from a European one, so this Texan is very confused. It's like a crime scene witness being asked what colour the getaway car was and saying "red or blue"

          1. Joe User

            Re: British or European

            In the particular case of accents, a British accent is very distinct from a European one, so this Texan is very confused.

            Considering that many Europeans learn to speak English with a British accent, the confusion is understandable.

          2. Irony Deficient

            the particular case of accents

            James, before this story was cast broadly, I would have said that “you don’t get people saying ‘British or European’” in describing an accent, but apparently we do now. If I split hairs to figure out why, so be it.

            People who learn English as an nth language sometimes have a choice of learning with a European English vocabulary and accent, or learning with a North American English vocabulary and accent. Talented students can reproduce the accent that they learn; hearing such a student speak could lead a native English speaker to determine that the student spoke a particular variety of English, but not as his mother tongue. In this case, “British or European” could mean that the Texan father recognized a non-North American accent coming from someone who was not a native English speaker.

          3. Nuke
            Headmaster

            @James Micallef - Re: British or European

            Wrote :- 'you don't get people saying "French or European"'

            Well there is a guy at work who is French or European. Whoops, I said it.

            It is a venacular clipping of "French or _other_ European"

    3. LarsG
      Meh

      Re: British or European

      Hearing voices, next God will be telling him to buy a gun and go kill lots of people.

    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: British or European

      Why do Americans always think we British are Evil (Look at Total Recall the remake), I mean come on it would literally be minutes before I would require a cup of tea. Although slurping might not sound right over a baby monitor.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: British or European

        @Captain Scarlet : Villains in American films seem to have had English RP accents since the invention of talkies. Maybe it's some kind of hangover from 1776. Does anyone know if American stage productions in the 19th century had English villains?

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: British or European

          Well, sure. There was Richard III, for example.

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          Re: British or European

          Look at supernatural . The horseman of death is English, the king of hell is Scottish and it was two Americans that destroyed heaven.

      2. plrndl

        Re: British or European @ Captain Scarlet

        In the movies, British actors play villains because they can act. American actors play the good guys.

        1. Amorous Cowherder
          Facepalm

          Re: British or European @ Captain Scarlet

          Playing the part of a nasty villain requires some acting ability and a pompous air, something your average low-grade RSC thesp can knock out without really trying. Playing the part of a good guy in US film requires that you can recite verbatim a load of tired cliches while firing a large gun and grinning inanely at some token bimbo who needed saving from her own stupidity!

    5. sisk Silver badge

      Re: British or European

      People in Texas aren't exactly known for their vast knowledge other cultures.

      That's rather like saying Brits aren't known for their ability to have fun. And just about as accurate.

      In a far more reality based statement, cultural stereotypes aren't exactly known for being accurate.

  2. Ross K
    Childcatcher

    Huh?

    Internet-connected baby monitors are a thing now?

    Better not tell the hags in my office - they'd definitely get nothing done if they could watch their kids all day long in a Big brother stylee..

    1. Ross K

      Re: Huh?

      Just watched the news clip in the previous post. The "baby monitor" is a cheap Chinese wifi ptz webcam off eBay.

      Dad obviously forgot (or didn't know he needed) to put an access code on the built-in web server before he put it on the interwebs...

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Huh?

        Failure to set it up securely is almost certainly what happened. Wonder how many other people had tuned in?

        Really creepy to yell at a baby though. My au pair just shook me, silently.

        1. Ross K
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Huh?

          Creepy, for sure.

          At least it was some script kiddy with no social skills doing the illegal surveillance, as opposed to an NSA contractor. Oh wait...

        2. James Micallef Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Not a baby monitor?

          That's weird.... I thought the whole point of the baby monitor is that the bit at the baby's end is just microphone (+ in this case camera). One of the main points of a baby monitor* is that it is one-way only.

          If there is a speaker at the baby's end it's a walkie-talkie not a baby monitor.

          * The other main point of a baby monitor is that if whoever is monitoring the monitoring end is worried about something they can go to the baby's location in a few seconds. There's no reason for it to be on the internet. If you're using some sort of webcan device, set it up properly dude!

          1. Richard 22

            Re: Not a baby monitor?

            Most baby monitors allow you to push a button to talk to them from the (nominally) receiver end. Never used that feature on ours since a disembodied crackly voice isn't really the most soothing thing a baby can hear.

            Never saw the point in IP connected baby monitors.. You can get a dedicated video monitor pretty cheaply these days - no need to have a PC/smartphone permanently accessing the cam just on the off-chance of anything happening.

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: Not a baby monitor?

              We put our baby's monitor inside a clown mask so baby thinks the clown is talking to it.

              1. John Ruddy
                Trollface

                Re: Not a baby monitor?

                Which is surely going to create a fear of Clowns in later life...

                1. Don Jefe
                  Happy

                  Re: Not a baby monitor?

                  A fear of clowns is a Good ThingTM, certainly more useful than a fear of sharks or snakes.

              2. Amorous Cowherder

                Re: Not a baby monitor?

                "We put our baby's monitor inside a clown mask so baby thinks the clown is talking to it."

                And so begins a life-long fear of clowns, especially ones mimicing family members and with slightly metallic and robotic voices!

              3. James Micallef Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Not a baby monitor?

                "We put our baby's monitor inside a clown mask so baby thinks the clown is talking to it."

                I always wondered why some people had a phobia for clowns!

            2. loopy lou

              Re: Not a baby monitor?

              Agreed - a disembodied voice talking to the baby is very unlikely to help.

              But it is dead handy if parent1 is with the baby and says something intended for parent2 who can then press the button even if it is only ot say "OK,got it, I'm coming".

              1. Don Jefe
                Happy

                Re: Not a baby monitor?

                You're probably violating the T&C's of the baby monitor using it that way. If you want to use it to communicate with adults you need to upgrade to the R2R (Room-to-Room) Wireless Communications System. It features a sleek black housing and uses stainless steel buttons instead of pastel colored controls.

          2. sisk Silver badge

            Re: Not a baby monitor?

            I thought the whole point of the baby monitor is that the bit at the baby's end is just microphone (+ in this case camera).

            Not for at least the last 5 years (when my oldest was born). These days high end baby monitors have a speaker on the baby's end so that mommy and/or daddy can sooth the baby by voice without having to get up.

            It's a waste of money if you ask me. Never once have I gotten either of my kids to calm down by talking to them from across the room. Whet they want a parental unit they want more than just a voice. And if the baby was deaf then it was REALLY a waste of money.

      2. Concrete Cowboy

        Re: Huh?

        "Dad obviously forgot (or didn't know he needed) to put an access code on the built-in web server before he put it on the interwebs..."

        RTFA: He said that both the camera and the family's wireless network are firewalled and password protected

        -So, yeah. That's not it.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: Huh?

          He probably thinks his AOL mail password is the password for the camera. I don't think this guy is at the height of technological prowess and knoelesge.

        2. Ross K
          Trollface

          Re: Huh?

          @Concrete Cowboy: yeah I RTFA thanks. He had a port open on his firewall for the camera, or else this hacker couldn't have connected to it. And he doesn't strike me as being technically competent if he phoned his ISP for help.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Huh?

            P'n'P is all I'm saying.

        3. Nuke
          Meh

          @Concrete Cowboy - Re: Huh?

          Wrote :- "RTFA: He said that both the camera and the family's wireless network are firewalled and password protected"

          And the password was what, "password" ?

        4. Snickers

          Re: Huh?

          You are correct.

          99% of Foscam cameras run older firmware that allows anyone to get a memory dump of all the passwords, emails, ssids, ftp servers - everything stored on the cameras. All you do is append //proc/kcore to the cameras IP address.

          These guys had used a strong password, they just fell foul to Foscam deplorable coding standards.

      3. goldcd

        Re: Huh?

        I picked up a very similar (if maybe slightly less 'no-name' as it has clones) Foscam.

        Actually pretty damn good for the money, but does come with both a built in dynamic dyns service with a pre-specified address and upnp.

        I can't remember what the default setup was, but I guess it only takes a few mis-clicks in the config and inability to setup a secure password and a ping sweeper with regex... ooh there's a fun task for me this evening :)

      4. goldcd

        Re: Huh?

        [a-z]{2}[0-9]{4}.myfoscam.org

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Huh?

          1) both the camera and the family's wireless network are firewalled and password protected

          2) babycam p0wned

          One of the above is not true.

          1. Vociferous

            Re: Huh?

            In what universe is a firewall (of some kind) and a password (of some kind) a 100% protection from hacking?

          2. PatientOne

            Re: Huh?

            @Monsters

            1: He set the camera up and opened a port in the firewall as the install software asked for it, and didn't change the default password on the camera itself (check the BBC article on this, btw - slightly more info).

            2: babycam p0wned.

            Both of the above can be true.

            1. JohnG Silver badge

              Re: Huh?

              "He set the camera up and opened a port in the firewall as the install software asked for it, and didn't change the default password on the camera itself"

              He set the camera up, left UPNP enabled on the camera (as it was previously left enabled on his broadband router) and failed to set his own username and password, so it is still the default: admin/(blank). A free dynamic DNS service probably helped advertise the camera's online presence, assisted by Google search.

              The camera manufacturers don't want their support people spending every day talking people through opening ports on an assortment of different routers, so they are likely to take the easy route.

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Huh?

          > [a-z]{2}[0-9]{4}.myfoscam.org

          Should at least be [some md5 hash].myfoscam.org

          LE DESPAIR!

          1. JohnG Silver badge

            Re: Huh?

            Just Google:

            site:myfoscam.org

      5. Snickers

        Re: Huh?

        99% of Foscam cameras run older firmware that allows anyone to get a memory dump of all the passwords, emails, ssids, ftp servers - everything stored on the cameras. All you do is append //proc/kcore to the cameras IP address.

        These guys had used a strong password, they just fell foul to Foscam deplorable coding standards.

  3. FredBloggsY
    Facepalm

    "A Texas father ripped out the baby video monitor

    ...

    forcibly disconnected the device."

    Or, as we usually say, unplugged it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What good is a firewall when UPNP/DLNA is used? It opens the port needed to connect to the baby monitor. Now you need the password to it, probably not hard to get as many cameras are not known for their stellar security. It could be as easy a going to a URL to either bypass the authentication, make changes or see what it is set too. The guy could have also decrypted the pre-shared key.

    I find it funny the guy called his ISP; not like they sold him the camera.

    1. Concrete Cowboy

      Many ISPs supply combo wireless modem/routers. Theoretically, they might've had a solution. If nothing else, the ISP could warn other customers.

    2. John Tserkezis

      I find it funny the guy called his ISP; not like they sold him the camera.

      This coming from the same country where they "magic bullet" pirate cable connections, then wait for their non-legal subscribers to call the cable 1800 number to complain the service has dropped out.

      With a population of 300+Million, Not surprising at all that some of them are a bit simple.

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I know what happened...

    I know what happened, I've seen this type of camera (although the one I saw did not have the speaker, others do.) By default, some models will connect to a site run by the company that made the camera. This is meant as a convenience, the camera has a little card that says "go to mycamera-ab78.somewhere.com" or whatever, you go there, and it goes right to your camera so you can access it easily on the road without bothering with setting up port forwarding or anything. If you don't turn this off, or bother to change the username and password -- yes, just what you'd expect.

    1. amanfromearth

      Re: I know what happened...

      Or as we say here, DDNS

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Family Guy

      Maybe he was just trying to get her to drop a deuce.

  7. al7

    I don't believe anything of it.

  8. GothBoy
    WTF?

    Stunned...

    I'm absolutely stunned that someone would even consider an IP camera in a child's room if there was a possibility of an external network connection being formed. I'm sure people will argue that it's to monitor children while the parents are not at home, in which case I'd suggest they have a far larger issue than a creepy hacker.

    It reminded me of the IP camera set I bought from Aldi that had been used, a dynamic IP service set and fully password protected. Not even a factory reset would allow access and a firmware update could only be done, you guessed it, from within the password protected zone. Needless to say that I returned it. Aldi were gobsmacked as to how it had happened given that the security seals were intact at time of purchase. I suggested at the point of manufacture and the Manager removed all remaining units from the floor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stunned...

      You're supposed to use an ethernet cable connected to a machine which provides DHCP - you can then nmap that network to locate the camera & set the wireless config.

      Oddly enough, this is all described in the fine manual - even if it is written in chinglish.

    2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Stunned...

      "I'm absolutely stunned that someone would even consider an IP camera in a child's room if there was a possibility of an external network connection being formed."

      The world is not The Register. Most people don't have a deep understanding of computers let alone of computer security.

  9. Fink-Nottle

    A baby monitor that whispers AdWords to sleeping infants; resulting in a generation of perfect perfect consumers.

    I think Google already holds that copyright.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Patent, not Copyright.

      A Copyright about something along those lines is held by the estate of Aldous Huxley.

  10. Jim 59

    Hacker

    I'm stunned that even the most mindless social gimp would swear at/frighten a sleeping bairn. These gimps are also stunningly naive in their belief that the internet is somehow magic and anonymous and that they are safe from detection, exposure and punishment. Some wretch believes Tor or whatever will protect him. Has a laff abusing folks on line. One day he goes to far and commits a crime by threatening to kill/assault somebody. He is in custody within 24 hours.

    1. Amorous Cowherder
      Pint

      Re: Hacker

      Agreed but please don't honour this sort of scuzzbag with the title "hacker". Just call him what he is, an obnoxious, nasty little c....

  11. teebie

    Basic security error

    If your baby doesn't need to be internet accessable, then only allow local access to your baby.

  12. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Holmes

    Probably not hacked

    Opinions seem to be sharply divided on whether this man's home network was adequately secured.

    I suppose there are Europeans with the skills to hack into it and take over the baby alarm, though why they would bother is a mystery. But the article also says He heard a male voice coming from inside his daughter's bedroom, calling out her name. This implies that alleged hacker gained access to a computer, where he was able to find out the baby's name, then hacked the baby alarm. Possible, but vanishingly improbable.

    1. Ross K

      Re: Probably not hacked

      I suppose there are Europeans with the skills to hack into it and take over the baby alarm, though why they would bother is a mystery.

      Dunno if you're being sarcastic, but why do people hack anything? Boredom? Thrills? Mental problems? I'd actually be reluctant to call this hacking as it doesn't require any technical prowess to increment some letters and numbers in a dyndns address to hop from one webcam to the next.

      1. Don Jefe
        Joke

        Re: Probably not hacked

        Don't you read the news? All hackers are either paedos or identity thieves, or both. Do try and keep up with what the government tells us.

    2. John Ruddy

      Re: Probably not hacked

      No, apprently (according to another version of this story), he saw the child's name on the walls, via the camera.

      1. Grey Bird

        Re: Probably not hacked

        Even if he didn't see the child's name on the walls, all he would have to do is listen to the parents using the child's name. Just because a child is deaf doesn't mean the parents don't talk to her.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The REAL British Accent

    Nowt up wi my accent, tha daft Texas bastid!

  14. David Roberts Silver badge

    Brit or European?

    Well, why be so narrow minded?

    Apart from the 'mid-Atlantic' accent you get from East Coast US with UK business connections, what about the rest of the world?

    I recall checking into an hotel on the East Coast US and being told "Hey - there's some of your guys in the bar."

    Turns out they were Australian.

    So could have been an antipodean intruder.

    Or almost anyone not born and raised in Texas.

  15. sisk Silver badge

    Creepy. As. Hell. Especially the part about him calling the baby a 'little slut'. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a man who belongs either in prison or in a psychologists chair before some kid gets hurt (though given what he's done here, it's probably too late.)

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