Wireless camera hacking leaves St. Augustine family feeling unsecure

Ken Amaro reporting, 01/10/2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tony Tripi loves his technology. You name it - he's tried it.

"I've always been kind of a techno geek," he explains.

But after a December surprise, Tripi is having doubts about the things that are supposed to make his life easier.

"It seems like now I can't depend on those devices," says Tripi.

The reason for is newfound doubt came Dec. 30 when his technology revealed its vulnerability.

"I told Alexa turn off the lights and a voice answered back and said, 'Alexa, no turn on the lights,'" says Tripi.

What happened left he and his wife stunned. They thought the voices were coming from outside their home, yet they appeared to be inside, behind their locked doors.

"My first reaction was someone was inside the apartment," he says, "or outside the window."

It was neither. They would quickly discover that someone had hacked into their wireless security camera.

"The cameras are designed to allow two-way communications," says Tripi.

It was clear to them that the person was watching their every move and was listening.

"The voice said you know you should put a password on your camera," says Tripi, "then it hit me I had not done that." Tripi has since pulled unplugged his wireless security camera.

Philipp Graves, CEO of Antisyn, a cyber security firm, says this happens more often than you think.

"The idea of someone tapping into a wireless network or even your home security camera systems is becoming a common threat these days," says Graves. "What's scary is you don't know if they're next door or across the globe."

Graves says when using wireless technology always create your own passwords. If you don't know how, hire a cyber expert.

"You have to go the extra mile to put the right security in place," he says.

He says remember with new technology brings convenience and risk. You have to find the balance.

Tripi says he is giving up on his wireless camera for now:

"I think I am going to leave unplugged until my confidence level is raised."


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