Software Integrity

 

Smart baby crib: The newest way to welcome hackers into your home

A few weeks ago, Google-owned Nest published a patent for a “smart” or internet-connected smart baby crib that they filed in 2014. From the early designs and description of the smart crib, it will be equipped with a variety of sensors, cameras, and microphones to allow parents and caretakers to monitor every aspect of their child’s movement… even pooping!

The smart baby crib sensors will be embedded in the crib frame, mattress, and the nursery door and will be able to detect basically anything the baby does, including:

  • a child being awake (motion sensor and pressure sensor)
  • crying (microphone)
  • a noxious compound such as carbon monoxide (air sensor)
  • a dirty diaper (air sensor)
  • an illness (air sensor)
  • heart palpitations (pressure sensor)
  • unusual lack of movement (motion sensor)
  • baby’s temperature (temperature sensor and/or a thermal imaging camera)
  • coughing or sneezing (motion capture camera and/or a microphone)

Sounds impressive, right? The crib has even more features that caretakers can use to soothe children. If the baby starts to cry, they can project lights and sounds to calm them without parental intervention. If the child wakes up before the parents do, the crib provides a “baby snooze button” where grown-ups can automatically set a soothing light show and accompanying lullaby to calm the child for an extended time. Parenting made easy, right?

While these IoT devices are marketed as a terrific way to make everyday life easier, they have potentially catastrophic implications for our privacy.

Internet-connected baby devices are alluring in their promises to provide remote access into the day to day life of our children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go off the work and check in on what our little one is doing that day? Unfortunately, there’s not much stopping attackers from doing the same. Proponents of internet-connected homes should be vigilant in password-protecting access to prevent unwanted guests from looking in and capturing their intimate, personal information.