How to Prevent Home Security Camera Hacks
As security technology continues to advance, online devices provide increasingly valuable tools to assure peace of mind and overall safety. But as we expand our wireless connections through these new devices, we must proportionately increase our awareness of hackers and their ability to access private information. It’s easy to forget that internet-connected devices in our homes—in addition to our laptops and phones—are just as susceptible to hackers. The more information we store or stream online, the greater the chance is a hacker can enter a system to compromise information or privacy.
Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, commonly used as wireless baby monitors or at-home security cameras, allow parents and homeowners to keep an eye on an area from their phones or computers. Images of our homes and families should be carefully protected. These connections in particular require diligent security reinforcement.
How Cameras Get Hacked
Understanding a hacker’s methods is the first step to protecting your family, information, and home. Hackers can gain information from your wireless network in two ways: locally and remotely.
If someone is able to place themselves or their equipment in local range of your wireless connection’s signal, they can disrupt and jam your network in order to spoof the connection. They may also use a variety of ways to guess the passcode, welcoming entry to a wide range of stored online information. If cameras are linked to a local network, hackers only need to break the initial passcode to access camera information. Security camera systems themselves do not usually include additional encryption, since the wireless network is already protected. Because of this, hackers have access to all information—including camera feeds—once they get past this first stage. For that reason, additional encryption is highly recommended.
Similar to all other personal information online, remote hacks are possible when personal data and password information is leaked through online storage. Be sure to update your passcodes on a regular basis to defend against any type of theft, especially since this method of hacking is much easier and far more likely than others.
Turn Off Remote Monitoring
When organizing and arranging your camera system, determine how often you'd like to monitor your cameras away from home. Software and phone applications offer the opportunity to check in at sporadic times of the day, but this choice essentially leaves the online stream open to hackers, whether the app is open or not. Keeping the system’s accessibility narrowed to one access point will assure greater control and fewer entry points for unwanted guests.
Check out your software settings as well—many cameras establish remote monitoring automatically, even without the prompt to turn it on manually. Begin your setup process by turning this feature off as soon as possible, or set up a very complex password—which changes on a regular schedule—to protect anyone else from tapping in. Take the utmost care, and be sure to read over all details and instructions during the setup process, or ask your sales representative to walk you through any questions.
Secure Your Network
Cameras are often linked to your home Wi-Fi system, which is ideally equipped with a strong password rarely shared with others. Keep this password private, and try not to share it with neighbors or visitors, if at all possible. Or if you must, set up a monthly recurring date to update your Wi-Fi’s password. Protecting this information wards off intruders from both your cameras and other personal devices.
Don’t Use the Default
As you complete your camera’s setup, reset the default password as early as possible. Many hackers understand that new users keep the default passcodes in the early days of installment and see this window as an opportunity to break into the system. A camera’s software may not prompt you to change the passcode, or it may simply not allow it right away, so try to be diligent about completing this step as soon as you are allowed to within the settings. Above all, choose something personal and complex right off the bat.
Position Cameras Thoughtfully
Placement of the cameras themselves is also a crucial step in protecting your online security. Be sure your cameras are not pointed toward any commonly used laptop spaces, like an office or desk, to protect any additional information from being stolen in the event of a security breach. Also make sure that cameras are out of reach and in an area not easily seen by possible intruders. For extra care, avoid angling cameras directly toward personal areas of the house, like bedrooms or living areas. Entranceways, areas without valuables, and garages are a great place to start.
Knowledge is Security
Online security is a major consideration in ensuring your cameras are well protected from hacking specialists. Losing information and privacy is just as harmful as losing physical items and money. By understanding your camera’s internet connections and the camera's installment process, there is no doubt that you will arm your home with the most secure form of technology, both from physical and digital intrusions.