Stranger hacks into baby monitor, tells child, 'I love you'

The Chinese manufacturer has been criticized for making devices that are easy to access without authorization.

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/ Source: NBC News
By Dennis Romero

A stranger hacked a Seattle couple's baby monitor and used it to peer around their home remotely and tell the pair's 3-year-old, "I love you," the child's mother said.

The parents' concerns were aired Friday by NBC News affiliate KING TV, which identified the shaken mother and father by their first names only, Jo and John.

The Taococo video baby monitor is a WiFi-connected device.KING 5

"We were both downstairs working in our office here, and our daughter called out," Jo said. "She's saying, 'Mommy, mommy.' She said the voice is talking to me."

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Jo went upstairs to check: "I said, 'What's going on?' And she said the man said, 'Jaden, I love you.' And I said, 'What!"

It's not the first time the monitor brand in question, Fredi, made by Shenzhen Jinbaixun Technology Co., Ltd., according to its website, has come under fire for being comparatively easy to access.

The Seattle parents identified their camera, a baby shower gift received about six months ago in honor of their youngest child, as a Fredi Taococo model. Some are marketed as pet monitors but with artwork depicting a baby being monitored.

Wi-Fi enabled baby monitors are popular because they allow parents to view their children at home from their cell phones.

Last year, the nonprofit internet access group Mozilla Foundation singled out Fredi baby monitors in its privacy-oriented electronics shopping guide. In a section titled, "Can it snoop on me?" the foundation answers, "Yes."

"There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there demonstrating these baby cameras are regularly and routinely hacked," the foundation said in its warning.

Chillingly, John's mother heard an unrecognizable voice coming from the second floor of the couple's home last week, the parents said. They also noticed the camera changed its focus from their baby's crib to the room itself without their input.

They informed local police and the FBI. And they unplugged the camera.