Security chiefs have warned that smart cameras and baby monitors can be watched by criminals over the internet by default. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is advising people to change the settings after buying them. Easy-to-guess default passwords might let a hacker secretly observe a home through connected devices, it said. There are many examples of devices being accessed without permission.

The new guidance for owners of smart cameras suggests the following steps – changing the default password, keeping the camera’s software, sometimes called firmware, updated, and switching off features that let you check the cameras remotely, if you don’t need or use it.

As connected devices move into people’s homes and everyday lives, cyber-security risks are becoming very personal, with challenges in protecting people’s data and privacy. Companies making these devices often try to make them cheap and fast to capture the new market – and not much though is given to security. The problem is leading towards not just more warnings such as this one, but also new mandate security standards. (3rd March)