MIDDLESEX CENTRE, Ont. — A southwestern Ontario family had a creepy encounter with a camera monitoring their young child when it suddenly began playing music and a voice said they were being watched.
It happened a little after nine in the evening on July 7 to a young family in Middlesex Centre, a rural area north of London, Ont., according to Ontario Provincial Police Const. Liz Melvin.
She said one of the parents was rocking the young child to sleep in the nursery when the camera was remotely activated.
“The camera played some eerie music and a voice could be heard indicating the parent and child were being watched,” Melvin said. “Obviously it’s going to be disturbing.”
The family’s Internet service provider confirmed the router had been hacked and the source of the hack could be from anywhere in the world, she said.
In response to the incident, the OPP issued a warning Wednesday reminding people that cameras connected to the Internet can be hacked. They said security cameras and monitoring systems can be susceptible to hackers because many have an option to be used remotely enabled by default.
“Be aware that potentially nothing is secure if it’s connected to the Internet,” Melvin said.
Melvin said no other incidences have been reported and she wasn’t aware of any past investigations into this type of camera hacking in the area.
“Whether it’s isolated or not, that’s a good question, it seems to be in this area, but it could just be that it’s unreported,” Melvin said.
Even if it is an isolated occurrence, Melvin said camera hacking is an ongoing concern because of the potential for unauthorized people to make video recordings.
She said there are no suspects in the case and the investigation is ongoing.
There are a number of ways people can reduce the risk of hacking Melvin said, including using passwords to protect access to the Internet connection and access to monitoring systems as well as checking if a camera is remotely enabled by the manufacturer, purchasing cameras from trusted sources and covering cameras when not in use.
Melvin herself decided after hearing about the incident to cover the camera on her office laptop to protect against unwanted viewers.
“Make sure you have some checks in place to minimize your risk,” Melvin said. “You don’t want to invite a stranger into your home or your life.”
The Hamilton Spectator