Numerous security systems in your home are under the watchful eyes of security professionals, and can be monitored easily by your security provider in the event that unfortunate breaches occur. However, this also raises an important question – can someone hack your security cameras and risk your privacy?
Unfortunately, yes – it is possible for home security cameras to be hacked, and this occurrence is more common than you may think. As long as the hacker gains access to your camera, all other security equipment in your home is under risk; however, you can implement certain measures to prevent this from happening.
Alongside knowing the risks involved when your security system is hacked, it is good to start from knowing the vulnerability of your devices – even if they are from a reputable provider. Figuring out the ways that someone can hack the cameras will reduce the risk of it happening to you as well.
Ways that one can hack a security camera
Due to the prevalence of cellular and wireless technology, it is possible to access footage from your security cameras through a smartphone app; all you need to do is log in to the app with your password and username. You can use the apps to also control other smart devices like lock systems, see camera feeds, and even communicate with your family through two-way audio functionality.
However, this great accessibility gives rise to another problem: hackers can also download the app and hack your account when they use the correct password and username. Some of the ways they do that are:
Default access to your password
A hacker wanting to break into your security system will begin by searching for the camera’s IP address, and attempting to log in.
This process is easier thanks to search engines like shadon.io and angryip.org, they can get the information they need about your username, and then try different passwords to access the camera or the entire security system.
This should not be an easy task to accomplish in theory because you would expect your IP security provider to protect your data, but this is not the reality because many users will use passwords that are similar to the default ones from the manufacturer.
Finding user IDs
When hackers notice that the cameras are slightly more challenging to hack, they can opt to look for your user ID – and if you have cookies enabled on your browsers, this is easy to achieve.
The hacker will then reset the credentials for your account to lock you out and take over your system, as well as other elements like the wireless security footage and hard drives.
Getting access to command lines
There have been instances where hackers accessed ‘backdoor’ command code lines, which ultimately grant them admin-level access to user footage. Unfortunately, many users do not know this and will therefore not bother to update the firmware on their cameras, leaving their systems vulnerable to various hackers.
How can I know if my cameras have been attacked?
Unless you have a trained eye, it is usually impossible to know if someone has hacked your camera system, as many people do not know what to look for.
A major red flag is when the camera shows worse than normal or unusually slow performance. Security cameras tend to have low memory capacity, so their CPUs will work harder than usual when they are under attack, resulting in the camera footage being completely or almost unusable. However, this problem is not always the sign of a hacker accessing your system, as it could also be due to poor wireless signals or internet connections.
Most hackers will quietly monitor your activities through the camera footage, so it is best to regularly note the camera positions and see if they have rotated – this is an indicator of an unauthorized person trying to get a better view. If you switch off the cameras at the end of the day, check if the LED light remains on when you switch off the camera. Additionally, you can check the settings in your app or account to see if the additional security features like two-factor authentication or encryption have been disabled mysteriously.
What actions can I take when I notice my security camera has been hacked?
In case you see suspicious activity on your camera, go to your administrative account immediately, change the password, and switch off the camera. If you are in touch with a professional monitoring service, inform them about the issue; they should help you secure the system further. On the other hand, if you self-monitor your security, talk to the camera manufacturer about the issue.
It is a good idea to talk to your internet provider to ask about your router’s encryption, and change to an alternative provider if you are unsatisfied with the responses. Depending on the risk to you, you can file a police report as well.
How can you prevent hackers from accessing your home security system?
It is very important to change any default passwords that you may have for your security camera system, especially in the world of today where information about you is easily accessible online. Therefore, never overlook even the smaller details, regardless of whether you beef up other security features like network protocols and firewalls. At the end of the day, these enhanced features will not help you much if you are using factory-set passwords or common credentials to access surveillance footage and systems.
In the event that you use a password that is difficult to remember, note that password on a piece of paper or your notebook instead of storing it as a computer or phone document. Always change the passwords regularly, and check if your security firmware needs updates.
Additionally, it is good to shop around different camera providers before settling on one, and ask them about their mechanisms to prevent hackers from accessing the footage from their users. If it is a good company, they should provide you with information on their geofencing, encryption, and firewalls; other than this, their login mechanism will add a two-factor authentication feature to deter any hackers.
The problem of security cameras getting hacked is a devastating one, since you installed the system to feel safer and it is harming your safety instead. It is good to enhance security measures to ensure your system can protect you better, and keep hackers away.