Four years ago, a mother in Houston, Texas installed a number of security cameras around her home, including in the bedrooms of her children.
She wanted to be able to protect her kids, and keep an eye on them at almost all times. She never imagined that the footage from those cameras would end up online for anyone to see.
“I have cameras to protect my kids and I kind of feel like we failed them,” the mum – who only identifies herself as Jennifer – told KPRC News.
“We didn’t protect them. We actually put them in harm’s way.”
Jennifer was unaware that strangers were able to watch her family's every move until a woman almost 3,000 kilometres away in Oregon noticed the live stream on an app earlier this week.
The woman was using the app 'Live Camera Viewer' when she spotted a stream of the inside of the bedroom of two girls.
She posted a screenshot of the camera footage on a Houston Facebook page in hopes of alerting the family involved.
It didn't take long for Jennifer to realise the picture of the pretty pink bedroom she was looking at was inside her own home and belonged to her eight-year-old twin daughters.
"I mean people are watching what they do 24/7 and who knows who's watching it?" she said.
She believes a hacker was able to access the camera system after her daughter's played video games online.
"Never did I dream that they would be going back into our camera system, into our internet," she said.
"People are watching my kids in their home," she told ABC News.
"Dressing, sleeping, playing... it's a parents' worst nightmare."
An IT expert from the University of Houston, Mary Dickerson, told KPRC News that a lot of home security systems come with default settings that should be immediately changed.
"If you don't change the settings, then they are the same way they came from the manufacturer for everyone who bought one of those devices," she said.
"Which means there are thousands of people around the world who know what that user ID and password is."
The family has since shut down the camera system and plan to reconfigure the settings and passwords before switching it back one.
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