The unnerving and creepy discovery by a Houston dad that someone was watching his daughter via the video baby monitor set up in her room serves as a wake-up call for other parents.

Marc Gilbert told a Houston TV station that when he walked into his toddler's room, he heard a stranger's voice calling her by name and using profanity.  He said he believes the video baby monitor was hacked.

"It felt like somebody broke into our house," he said.

Increasingly, devices that let homeowners remotely watch their children, turn off lights, control appliance and watch security cameras mean convenience and potential vulnerability. 

Webcams and insecure home WiFi networks can be like an open window.

To protect yourself, Larry Thompson with the UTSA Center for Infrastructure and Security said homeowners should secure their home wireless network.

Not only can hackers patrol streets looking for open WiFi, they can also spy from their computer if the webcam device runs on the homeowner's network.

"If I access your network from halfway across the world, I can still see what you have on  your network," Thompson said. 

That could be your valuables, whether anyone is home or even your sleeping baby.

"The thing to do about that, if you have that WiFi network, to hide the ID of the network," Thompson said.  That way, hackers wouldn't even know it existed. 

"The first step is to hide it," he said. "The next step is encrypt it. Have a password, a strong password on it."

For Internet-based video cameras like higher-end baby monitors,  he said to be sure to use every security feature it offers.  That includes the basics like changing the default password to a strong one.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.