[Reader submitted] Hi, my name is Ron Benvenisti and I am the former manager of Citywide Information Security for the City of New York, Senior Security Analyst with the MTA Police Enterprise Security Division, as well as being a consultant to the first Cyber-Crime Unit in the US, The NYPD CITU Division as well as the NYC DOI CISAFE unit, for which I was a Special Investigator among other Cyber-Crime units such as the FBI and Secret Service. I am now semi-retired living in Lakewood for almost 6 years and currently do private and confidential consulting for parents whose kids have problems related to the Internet and ‘Smart’ phones. I’d like to pass on this tip to my fellow community members… And perhaps pass on others in the future, with your permission.
Congratulations to TLS for being a vital part of the community.
Baby Monitor Security – Who’s really watching?
Video and audio baby monitors are designed to give parents peace of mind. But these security devices are everything but secure. Unsuspecting families can be transmitting what’s going on inside their homes without them knowing it.
From a pure technology perspective, these little devices set up a television broadcast station in your home using a public frequency. You are not able to tune these devices to any frequencies other than the ones they’re transmitting on. They transmit on open and public frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for household uses like radios, telephones and video cameras. Intercepting the signal on a baby monitor is super simple. Any body can buy a receiver for one of these baby monitors, drive by your house and watch your baby (and others on their monitor). Conversations from the monitors and on cordless phones can easily be picked up including images from inside people’s homes, living rooms and bedrooms.
The best solution is to hard-wire the camera but if that’s not possible turn your camera on only when absolutely necessary.
The issue isn’t isolated to any one brand or manufacturer.
There is a way a baby monitor can actually be used as a low cost method to increase security in your home. Simply use it inside a window pointing to your front door or anywhere you would like to monitor. They can easily be attached with clear silicone or even strong tape. Remember to mount them inside the house! Considering that about 1.7 million monitors — more than 40 different models of handheld, digital and color monitors sold at major retailers nationwide between 2003 and 2011 – are being recalled by Summer Infant, based in Woonsocket, R.I after seven children were strangled to death by the power cords being too close to the crib, this is good idea. The Consumer Product Safety Commission who initiated the recall says the electrical cords on the monitors can be “dangerous” for babies if placed too close to their cribs.
Ty mr. Benvenisti. Mayb you should join the Lakewood police dept and shape them up
So watch my baby for me! Change his diaper too!
To number 1. I think the LWPD does a fine job considering the constraints they are forced to deal with. Like many public safety issues, this is one that you can take care of yourself as Chief Lawson and the LCSW has advised us on numerous occasions. If you decide to use the material please add an the following important tips which I forgot to include in the Erev Shabbos rush…. Thanks again TLS for an excellent job. In the Erev Shabbos rush I forgot to include the following related tip and recall information:
“There is a way a baby monitor can actually be used as a low cost method to increase security in your home. Simply use it inside a window pointing to your front door or anywhere you would like to monitor. They can easily be attached with clear silicone or even strong tape. Remember to mount them inside the house! Considering that about 1.7 million monitors — more than 40 different models of handheld, digital and color monitors sold at major retailers nationwide between 2003 and 2011 – are being recalled by Summer Infant, based in Woonsocket, R.I after seven children were strangled to death by the power cords being too close to the crib, this is good idea. The Consumer Product Safety Commission who initiated the recall says the electrical cords on the monitors can be “dangerous” for babies if placed too close to their cribs.”
Again thank you TLS for so graciously accepting this information.
A Gut Vach to all.
Thanks so much for this info! So my conversations on a cordless phone are also unsecure? If yes, is that only if I have one of these baby monitors? Would all this be applicable to a monitor without video as well?
To Crackberry: Regarding cordless phones, it depends. Some phones use “spread spectrum” technology within the home that actually modulates the frequency (continually changes the transmitchannel) so that it is harder to eavesdrop on. This is based on a military technology in use since WW2. Cordless phones still operate within the public band so it is possible to tune a scanner to follow these frequencies. If you use a cordless phone make sure it uses “DSS” (the broad spread spectrum technology) which employs this frequency hopping technology. Even if you do not have a cordless phone, the baby monitor, including just audio monitors broadcast without any security whatsoever. Hope this helps.
To #1 – Until you walk in the shoes of the LPD, your comments are not appreciated. I hope you never have an emergency where they are needed but if you do you will witness their professionalism and their compassion. They do their job very well. This isn’t meant to be a forum for putting down the LPD whenever you see an opportunity.
this was recently reported on a national TV show.
I’m sorry if my comment before was offensive. It was not intended to be. The LPD, as Mr. Benevitti put it, are doing the best they can under these circumstances. I see their work daily and I’m very impressed, that even under these circumstances, they do what they are doing. It’s remarkable, and they deserve all credit!!! What I meant was that maybe Mr. Benevitti should join the anti-gang group, and give them the resources he has to offer. Not that they are not doing a good job, but even the best of us can improve. I’m sorry again if my previous comment was offensive to anybody it wasn’t meant to be. I just wrote it using too little words. Hope everyone excepts my apology. I’ll try to refrain from writing comments without explaining myself. Thank you TLS for giving us the forum to express our opinions, Great job
It is rare that Gangs employ advanced technology other than using disposable cell phones to route police to phoney crime scenes and then communicate with members by portable radio to commit crimes far away from where the police are responding to the phoney calls. I have worked with the LWPD where an Internet Forum member made anti-semitic threats to a Yeshiva here in Lakewood threatening to “burn down the beards”. This person was banned from trespassing anywhere near the site. The LCSW also provided support in notifying the community regarding the description and vehicle of this person. I have also worked on a limited basis with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office which has it’s own Computer Crimes Unit. These agencies have internal and outside resources to assist in Cyber-Crime matters. Admittedly these resources are currently consumed by agencies like the TSA but there have been and still are limited public and private grants available to Yeshivahs and Public Schools regarding vital Internet Safety Awareness programs for all grade levels. For more information on these grants and the application process please contact TLS for my contact information. The demographics of Lakewood are a plus for receiving these grants.
Just think before typing next time. It does wonders.
Its simple. if you live in a complex anyone near you with the same frequency baby moniter can pick up your PRIVATE conversations if your baby moniter is left on. Now do you get it?
To number 1 and 8. If you are the same person then I’m very impressed that you took the time to explain what you meant in your poorly written comment num 1. If only everyone would do that.
To #1 & 8 I also appreciate the apology with explanation. Thank you
When my eldest child was a baby I overheard a man singing to his child on our monitor. Since then I have not turned on my monitor once. I do not want anyone listening to my baby. And video monitors are even scarier. I shiver to think that some pervert need only buy the same video monitor and park outside my house and get full access to see my child. Horrible. It amazes me that they sell video monitors at all.
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