Keep “smart,” safe and secure.
Many Americans are wary of Wi-Fi connected security camera’s getting hacked and leaving them exposed. And that concern is not unfounded even if the occurrences of hacking are slim.
Like any Wi-Fi connected device, there are measures you must take to make your home automation equipment secure.
How Are Home Security Cameras Hacked?
Home security cameras (and other equipment) can be hacked in a couple different ways.
While home security devices are hacked in similar ways, home security cameras are frequently hacked in home security systems. For our purposes, we will refer more commonly to the home security cameras.
The first way is a DDoS attack. This happened to Dyn (a company that monitors and routes internet traffic), leaving users on the east coast unable to access Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, and many other mainstream websites for a while.
A DDoS attack attempts to overwhelm online services with traffic from multiple sources (important sources such as banks and news websites). The attack makes it difficult for people to access and use important information on these websites.
The second way home security cameras can be hacked is more malicious. Using a local or remote attack, a hacker can access your live video feed.
When trying to access a camera locally, the hacker must be within range of your router. This attack would allow them to run a program that will attempt to decipher your Wi-Fi router password. When they have the passcode, they can access to your Wi-Fi connected devices.
When trying to access a camera remotely, the computer can be hacked from anywhere. The attack targets one or many computers, finding vulnerable points in the network security software in order to access the machine or system. Changing your password frequently can protect you from remote hacks.
Is Your Home Security System Being Hacked?
Though sometimes hard to tell, there are usually red flags that can tip you off about any hacking.
One major way to tell if you’ve been hacked is if your camera or device slows or significantly decreases in its performance.
Sometimes you may experience decreased quality of performance that is the result of weak connection/signal–this is completely normal. However, if you’re experiencing persistent and sudden device sluggishness, you may have been hacked. This is caused by the security camera’s CPU being overworked which degrades its performance.
It would be a good idea to take protective measures at this point.
How To Protect Your Home Security Cameras And Devices From Hackers
The 2016 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report states that one in five Wi-Fi connected home devices don’t have protection in place. That means that one in five security systems are extremely vulnerable to being hacked.
Don’t be a statistic. It’s incredibly easy to toughen up your security and protect yourself from hackers. Use these tips to strengthen your defensive measures for your home security system.
- Strong passwords: You wouldn’t believe how many passwords are easily decoded by hacking software. Change your default username and password when you first install your equipment. Create strong passwords to increase security. This means upper/lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and irregular phrasing. It’s ok to have a password you need written down to reference for these devices (as long as you keep that in a private and secure place).
- Keep your wireless network secured: Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure by using WPA2 encryption, a strong password, create your own username and password, and turn off network sharing. You might also want to put your security cameras on their own network. This isolates devices, so that if one part of the system is compromised, the rest of your security system may remain safe. You may also want to install a firewall between your internet connection and devices (unless you’re tech-savvy, you’ll probably need a professional to do this).
- Turn off your remote online monitoring when not using it: While remote use is a neat feature of home security, you can provide yourself with extra security by turning it off when you’re not using it.
- Update your security camera firmware: Updating fixes bugs and increases your security. Always keep your firmware updated.
- Purchase your security devices from a trusted source: It doesn’t matter if you’re DIYing or going for a monitoring service, you should thoroughly investigate your options. You want quality equipment and service. There are many wireless home security cameras that don’t make you create passwords to authenticate, which leaves you vulnerable. And you should always stay away from second-hand or used security equipment. Spend the extra money for new equipment, as that is the only way you can be sure your security hasn’t been modified. If you go with a professional service, ask about their security and the steps they take to make their system secure.
If you’re still feeling unsure about home security safety, talk to your local professionals and research your choices. Remember that the equipment and home security company is only half of it. You are an important part of keeping your security cameras and equipment secure.
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