Man Hacks Texas Family's Baby Monitors, Threatens to Kidnap Infant: Report

Hacker told the parents to turn off their lights, 'I'm going to kidnap your baby'

A Houston-area family says someone hacked into their Wi-Fi camera network and threatened to kidnap their 4-month-old child.

KPRC-TV reported that Ellen and Nathan Rigney were awakened Monday night to sexual expletives being said in their sleeping child's room. Ellen Rigney said her "immediate reaction was that there's somebody in here, somebody's in my son's room."

When she and her husband jumped out of bed and turned on the light, a camera in their bedroom — which had been turned off — suddenly activated, with a man's voice ordering them to turn the light off, the report said.

"Then [he] said, 'I'm going to kidnap your baby, I'm in your baby's room,'" Ellen recalled. It prompted her husband to sprint upstairs, where their son, Topper, was alone and safe.

It was in that moment the couple realized they had been hacked, and the Wi-Fi needed to be disconnected as soon as possible.

Rigney shared the story on social media as a warning to other parents. The couple said they called police, filed a report and notified the camera manufacturer, according to KPRC's report.

The family said their Wi-Fi cameras were thrown away.

Nest, the maker of the camera system, said in a statement to NBC News that it's seen customers' accounts entered by people who found passwords exposed in breaches on other websites and successfully used them to log in.

"We are proactively alerting affected customers to reset their passwords and set up two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of account security. Customers can reach out to Nest customer support with questions or report anything suspicious to," a Nest representative said in the statement.

How to Protect Your Nursery Cam From Hacking
  • Secure your home WIFI network's encryption and privacy settings are enabled. Your camera's protection is only as good as those protections extended to the WIFI network.
  • Do not use the default admin user/pass that came with the camera. Create strong passwords using as many characters as possible and change that password at least once per year.
  • Register the hardware to make sure you are kept in the loop about software updates that could make the camera more secure.
  • If you have the camera enabled for remote/web access, make sure you have a password enabled or anyone could easily see inside your home.
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