Here we can see, “How Secure Are Wi-Fi Security Cameras?”
The terror stories are well-known. Someone in their home installed an Internet-connected webcam and left it vulnerable to assault, allowing strangers to listen in on their most private moments. Here’s how to choose a camera that protects your personal information.
What Is a Wireless Security Camera?
IP (Internet protocol) cameras are common, and they’re also employed as baby monitors. A wireless security camera is essentially a camera that broadcasts its footage to a secure web location where you may monitor what’s going on from another computer or via a mobile app.
These are popular options for anyone who wants to keep their property secure or keep an eye on their children (or even pets) while they’re sleeping (this may be especially handy if a tiny child is unwell, for example). They can often be configured to relay both sound and vision.
The most significant feature of these devices, even more, crucial than the cheap and easy setup, is that they encrypt the streamed data (typically using SSL/TLS) and provide a secure hub or app for watching the required footage username and password.
You should have no trouble keeping the events communicated via your IP camera away from prying eyes if these fundamental prerequisites are followed. However, what if your wireless security camera lacks these basic security features?
The Importance of Network Security
The wireless network you’re using for watching should be secure as well. Make sure your router is set to use WPA2-based encryption if you’re at home. This will keep things safe between the cameras and your network, while the stream’s encryption should keep everything safe beyond that.
Streaming can be fundamentally dangerous. For example, if you’re utilizing an open wifi network at a café, you’re vulnerable to attack. Any username and password you use to access the camera stream, for example, could be “sniffed,” and while using open networks to save money on mobile Internet is useful, it should not be done without the usage of a VPN.
Watch Out for IP Cameras
Traditional IP (or networked) cameras and newer “smart” cameras like Alphabet’s Nest Cam and Amazon’s Cloud Cam are the two primary types of Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras.
IP cameras are the subject of the scariest stories concerning insecure cameras you’ll find on the internet. There’s nothing wrong with IP cameras, in theory. So said, these are security cameras that link to the network via Wi-Fi or a physical Ethernet connection. They offer a web interface via which you can see their feed. These cameras can also be connected to a computer or a network video recorder system, allowing you to see and record all camera feeds in one location. Although the cameras may have some built-in storage, it’s usually your responsibility to capture their video provides in some way if you want to.
Many people, in actuality, do not safeguard these cameras. Instead, they connect them to the internet after leaving them configured with the default account and password. Unfortunately, this means that anyone can view the footage simply by going to the camera’s IP address on the internet. Even search engines, such as SHODAN, are intended to assist consumers in locating these unprotected camera feeds and other Internet of Things devices.
If you’re only searching for some basic security cameras, don’t bother with IP cameras. However, if you’re a do-it-yourself enthusiast, IP cameras are a good option. Just make sure you know what you’re doing and that you set them up correctly so that no one can spy on you.
How “Smart” Cameras Are Different
Modern security cameras, such as Alphabet’s Nest Cam (Alphabet is Google’s parent company), Amazon’s Cloud Cam, and Netgear’s Arlo, are different from IP cameras. Instead, these are smart home devices that are simple to use.
Instead of a pre-configured web interface with a default username and password, cameras like these need you to create an account online. Those internet accounts provide access to live video feeds as well as saved video footage. For added security, that account can occasionally be configured with two-factor authentication, which means that even if an attacker knows your account’s password, they won’t be able to see your cameras.
These cameras are also automatically updated with the most recent software. So to fix security issues, you don’t have to manually update them.
In other words, the setup isn’t very complicated. Plugin the camera, establish an online account, and link the camera to your account. There’s no way for an attacker to acquire quick access if you choose a strong password and, ideally, set up two-factor authentication.
Beware the Cheap Cameras
Of course, no matter whatever smart camera you choose, it will be uploading its video feed—or at the very least video clips—to a server someplace. So you must have faith in the company involved.
Alphabet, which also controls Google, owns Nest, for example. So you’re effectively putting your trust in Google with Nest. Other large corporations, such as Amazon, Netgear, and Honeywell, also appear to be trustworthy. These large corporations should take security seriously and do an excellent job of protecting their services.
Some cameras don’t seem to be as reliable as others. The Wyze Cam, for example, costs $26, when other manufacturers’ cameras often cost $100 to $200. Nevertheless, the Wyze Cam performed admirably for us, and it is unquestionably a fantastic value. Wyze, on the other hand, does not support two-factor authentication. And, anytime you start a live streaming session, the video feed is provided by ThroughTek, a Chinese corporation.
It’s up to you whether or not you trust a company like Wyze. Wyze, for example, might be perfect for keeping an eye on the outside of your house, but it’s probably not a good idea to put it in your living room. It’s also worth noting that you can use a Wyze camera without a Wi-Fi connection and record to a microSD card.
Other cameras are much more unreliable. For example, many cameras made by the Chinese company Foscam were revealed to be vulnerable to hacking in 2017. Some of these cameras, for instance, had hardcoded backdoor passwords that allowed attackers to watch your camera’s live feeds. So it’s worthwhile to invest a little more money on a more secure camera.
Choose a Camera That Supports Two-Factor Authentication
As we’ve discussed multiple times, two-factor authentication is an important security feature to have with a smart security camera account. For both your Nest and Amazon accounts, you can enable two-factor authentication.
Unfortunately, this feature is not available on the Wyze Cam. Even Netgear’s Arlo cameras don’t have two-factor authentication, so don’t expect every camera from a reputable brand to have this feature.
Choose a camera that enables two-factor authentication for optimal security and privacy, and make sure you set it up! Before purchasing a camera, do your homework.
How to Keep Your Security Cameras Secure
The main piece of advice is straightforward. Here’s how to pick a safe security camera that won’t leak your video feeds:
- Invest in a “smart” security camera rather than an IP security camera that requires extra setup.
- Choose a camera from a well-known brand, such as Nest or Amazon.
- When creating your online account for the camera, choose a secure password.
- Two-factor authentication should be enabled. (To ensure utmost security, get a camera with this feature.)
You should be perfectly safe if you do all of these things. Of course, the worst-case scenario would be a massive hack of Nest or Amazon‘s systems, but it would be a huge news event that would be quickly resolved.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please fill out the form below if you have any queries or comments.
1. Can security cameras be hacked?
There are various techniques to hack your security cameras. For example, cameras and baby monitors, and webcams are hacked due to a lack of basic security measures, the use of default settings and simple passwords, and security camera hack programs.
- Is it possible to disable WiFi cameras?
All security cameras have the potential to be jammed. The easiest way to jam security cameras is to use a signal jammer to transmit a stronger signal with the same radio frequency as the cameras. In contrast, wired cameras can be jammed by interfering with the wiring and security equipment.
- How can you tell if a camera is watching you?
Most spy camera detectors primarily provide two methods for locating hidden cameras: Look for the camera lens’s reflected lights (like using a flashlight). Then, detect the camera’s RF transmission. When the detectors detect a signal, they usually beep and provide you with audio alerts.
- Are wired, wireless, or wifi cameras safe from hacks/surveillance risk?
- How safe are Wifi IP Cameras?