If you’re going to bring security cameras into your home, keeping them safe from hackers is a vital step. If you can access your camera over the internet, someone else can access or hack it as well. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to protect your security cameras from being hacked. Even though surveillance cameras have the chance of being hacked, possibly sharing your personal moments, don’t let this stop you from protecting your home. As there are steps to protect yourself.
Steps to secure your cameras and CCTV footage from hackers
- Choose a router with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) security, which encrypts your data.
- Enable your cameras’ built-in firewall, which monitors and controls information coming to and from the camera. Instructions for doing so will be included with your cameras.
- Choose a strong password. If your cameras come with default passwords, change them quickly. Do this with your router as well for added security.
- Turn on two-factor authentication if it’s offered.
- Keep your camera’s firmware up to date by checking regularly.
- Use your cameras geofencing capabilities to turn them off when you’re at home.
Can Home Security Cameras be Hacked?
Every device which is connected to the internet can be hacked, and that contains home security cameras as well. Wired cameras are less vulnerable than Wi-Fi cameras, and those with local storage are less vulnerable than cameras that store video on a cloud-based servers. However as mentioned, all cameras can be hacked. This could let someone watch and listen to your recorded footage without your knowledge. They also could potentially obtain other devices such as your computer or smartphone on your home network.
The brand of camera and how it is set up on the network are the most important risk factors. Some manufacturers are more security-conscious than others, and most of the risk of having a home security camera can be mitigated if you take appropriate precautions on your network.
Most home security camera hacks aren’t the fault of the camera company. They often happen as homeowners used the same password on another site and that database was breached, or maybe because they didn’t change the default password on the camera when they bought it.
On the other hand, sometimes it is the manufacturer’s fault. Cloud-based security cameras store their security footage on a server, hackers try to infiltrate those systems to access the security footage directly. They’re more likely to succeed if the camera company doesn’t implement good security practices. This is why you should only purchase security cameras from well-known companies.
How to Set Strong Passwords
Setting unique and strong passwords is hard, and following a new one for every service you use is virtually impossible. But remember, you should never reuse passwords, because this is how most home security cameras get hacked. More than 65 million passwords have been accessed by hackers because of company data breaches at large organizations such as Equifax, Marriott, and Capital One and published online.
The easiest way to set strong passwords is to use a password manager that generates strong and long passwords. The other way is to write your passwords down in a physical notebook. If you go this route, you’ll need to create your own passwords. We suggest using a set of dice to generate random numbers, and a list of at least six words to make a strong password phrase. A passphrase is a password made of a string of words rather than random characters, and is longer than most passwords. When the password is longer, the password becomes harder to guess. Although random characters and symbols may seem more secure, shorter passwords are less secure as they can be guessed easier than longer ones.
The parameters of a good password is to:
- be long (12 characters is a good start, however longer is better)
- use a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters as well as symbols
- don’t use personal and identifiable information like a street you live on, your birthday, or your email address
- avoid reusing passwords
- you can even use words from the dictionary to help, again the more random and unrelated the better
What Is Two-Factor Authentication?
Also known as two-step verification or 2FA, two-factor authentication is a security measure that confirms your identity by using an additional layer of security in addition to your password. This usually includes a separate device or second piece of information that you have to activate or enter before you can get into your account. The advantages of 2FA is that even if someone guesses your password, they still won’t be able to access your account.
When you set up 2FA on your account, you’ll be asked if you want a text message, phone call, or email to send these one-time codes. Otherwise, you can use an authenticator app. This is the safest method, because hackers theoretically can intercept your text messages, phone calls, and emails). Nevertheless, all of these methods are far better than not having 2FA set up at all.
Update Cameras’ Firmware
Firmware is the software that runs your cameras. Actually, every security camera is a computer, just like your smartphone is a computer. The software on these cameras needs to be updated regularly with security updates to ensure the best protection possible for your equipment. Unfortunately, many cameras don’t get automatic software updates and can become vulnerable to hacking as people discover security holes. So, be sure to check for firmware updates periodically in the “Settings” section of your cameras’ mobile app.
Other Tips for Keeping Your Security Cameras Safe
DON’T put your indoor cameras in bedrooms, bathrooms, or other explicitly private spaces. If you’re really afraid of being watched, unplug or physically cover the camera when you’re home. Consider opting for a camera that gives a physical indication when it is recording or in live view mode so that you can always tell at a glance if someone is watching.
If you are worried that someone may use your best wireless security cameras to exploit a vulnerability in your home network and obtain access to other devices such as personal computers, consider setting up a separate network with a separate router for your cameras.