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Man pretends to kidnap newborn son by hacking into wireless baby monitor

Parents heard sexual expletives coming from son's room

HOUSTON – Many parents of newborns have opted to use Wi-Fi cameras to keep an eye on their baby. After a scary incident, one family's Nest Wi-Fi camera is now in the trash. 

Investigators out of Harris County, Texas, are looking into a family's report that someone hacked into their Nest Wi-Fi camera network and pretended to kidnap their son, according to KPRC

It was just before midnight on Monday when Nathan and Ellen Rigney were asleep downstairs, with their 4-month-old, Topper, asleep upstairs.

"'Hey, what is this? What’s going on?'” said Ellen. 

Ellen Rigney heard beeping coming from the monitor next to her bed. She assumed it was a CO2 alert.

“Then we heard sexual expletives being said in his room,” Ellen said. “Immediate reaction was that there’s somebody in here, somebody’s in my son’s room! How did they get in there?!”

Nathan and Ellen immediately jumped out of bed and flipped on the lights. Then, a Nest camera in their room that was off suddenly turned on. A man's voice ordered them to turn the lights off. 

“Then, [he] said, 'I’m going to kidnap your baby, I’m in your baby’s room,'” Ellen Rigney said.

Nathan sprinted out of the room and upstairs, where he found Topper safe and sound. That’s when Ellen remembered reading a story online about Wi-Fi camera hacking.

“We just had to figure out how to get (the Wi-Fi) shut down, and shut down fast,” Ellen said. “I kept telling [Nathan], 'He’s not in here, somebody’s hacking this.'”

The family turned off the Wi-Fi and cameras, called police, filed a police report and shared their story online. 

“Wow. Turning my kid's cameras off now,” one mom responded to the Rigneys' post.

Ellen Rigney called Nest, whose representatives “were no help at all,” she said, and “did not apologize.” The Rigney's Nest cameras are now in the trash.

There is a non-Wi-Fi camera above Topper's crib that Ellen installed recently after Wi-Fi in the neighborhood starting having issues. That camera is staying put. 

“It’s unnerving and unsettling,” Ellen Rigney said. “Something that is supposed to make you feel better, and instead it makes you feel the opposite, it makes you feel invaded and uncomfortable.”