A Houston mother, identified only as Jennifer, was horrified to discover that the webcam in the bedroom of her two daughters was somehow broadcasting to the internet. It seems her security system was hacked, and had been sharing their private lives online since about July 27.
ABC News says the mom made this discovery when another mom, Shelby Ivie, thousands of miles away in Oregon, posted a screen shot of the bedroom to a Houston mother’s Facebook group.
Ivie told ABC she was looking at satellite pictures of Earth with her son when an icon popped up offering a free Live Camera Viewer. Ivie downloaded it, and was shocked at what she found.
The pictures from inside Jennifer’s house were labeled “Houston,” so Ivie did what she could think of to track down the family. She not only shared it on Facebook, but also alerted news outlets to share the photos of what she’d found. Ivie said she was desperate to find the family to help protect them.Ivie told ABC News, “I was in tears, thinking of the violation [Jennifer] must feel.”
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Jennifer told ABC she was trying to figure out how this happened, and from what she was told by experts, the hackers found the family’s IP address from one of the children’s iPads. The predators were able to access the modem and their DVR system, which was connected to cameras all over the house, the report adds. One day, Jennifer recounts, her daughters were playing a computer game and wanted to connect with friends. There was a prompt, according to the report, that asked her daughter for the family’s server name. Instead, her child found an unprotected server online and used that.
Jennifer told ABC, “From what I understand, there’s tons of unprotected servers out there these kids are going on and basically people are waiting for them.” As a result, based on the “likes” on the site, at least 571 people were watching the live stream faithfully, and most likely more, Jennifer adds.
At this point, Jennifer’s not taking any more chances and has decided on no more internet for her kids. Although she said she feels like she failed her children because so many could watch them eat, sleep, play, and much more, she’s grateful to Ivie.
Jennifer says although they live 2,000 miles away, they will remain friends; she credits Ivie with basically saving their lives. She urges other parents to be extremely careful when it comes to the internet and their children.
Main photo: Webcam image from ABC News.