Security Cameras Are the Newest Hacker Targets. Is Your System Vulnerable?

There is nothing more frightening than logging on to your security camera’s control panel and finding another email address has gained access to your account. This is what happened to an ADT customer when performing her bi-monthly security check. The professionally installed security cameras were hacked and, when she reported it, she was shocked to hear from a customer representative that these attacks had been occurring a lot recently. Her report caused a mini panic among homeowners and businesses alike, seeking ways to make their security camera infrastructure more secure. ADT tried to dampen the panic by implementing new safeguards to their tech infrastructure. The damage, however, was done. A whistleblower revealed that hackers sell footage of homeowners getting dressed, sleeping, and having sex.

While this did cause a massive wave of security companies investing in their tech infrastructure, unfortunately some vulnerabilities can never be properly safeguarded.

All devices are vulnerable to attacks

While they can never be 100% secure, there are ways to ensure your security cameras are less prone to attacks. For example, security cameras from big-name companies like Google, Ring, etc. are less prone to such breaches. Their high-end encryption software makes these devices robustly secure. Even in the ADT case, the high-end encryption software pre-packaged in the camera’s software shooed it away from most data breaches.

However, in most cases, the data breaches are not the fault of the camera’s firewall or even the camera installer. It’s due to phishing. Phishing emails are the most common cause of data breaches. Phishing is the act of a person pretending to be a company or public entity to get personal login information from an unsuspecting user. Often, the scammer creates a replica of your security camera company’s dashboard or login page to illicitly obtain the username/password from a user. These phishing emails are the easiest and most common way hackers breach security. Phishing caused the ADT breach. You can avoid phishing by knowing the tell-tale signs of phishing emails. One dead giveaway is spelling errors but the most recommended step is to contact the company before responding to an email.

How could someone hack your camera?

Phishing isn’t the only way hackers obtain users’ information. How can someone get access to your security camera? There are two ways these hacks happen, remotely and locally. Local hackers access your camera through your wi-fi. Local hackers often live near a user and know the user personally. One way a local hacker can access your cameras is through guessing your security camera’s password and get access to it. Another way is through spoofing your router’s network and jamming your actual one. Local hacks are the most common ones out there because of how easy it is to penetrate security safeguards.

Highly encrypted data or firewalls cannot stop a local hack because they’re done through users’ errors. The best way to decrease your chances of being a victim of local hackers is by regularly changing your passwords and being aware of phishing emails. Also, always keep your security camera software current.

Remote hacks attack much larger companies and are the ones you most often hear about on the news. Instead of trying to coax passwords from a user, they hack the company’s database instead. There is little a user can do about a remote hacker since they target the company’s database.

How will I know if I’m hacked?

The scary part about security camera hacks is that they can go unnoticed. There aren’t any obvious red flags of a hacker gaining access to your security cameras and these hacks can go undetected for months.

Periodic security check-ups and monitoring if any new users appear on your control panel are the two best procedures to ensure if there is suspicious activity.

Protect your privacy

In conclusion, regular security check-ups, two-factor authentication, and updating your security camera firmware are the best ways to avoid being hacked. In terms of protecting your privacy, there isn’t a conclusive approach at this time in terms of security cameras.

Luckily, technology is evolving, and companies are investing millions into their encryption software. Again, hacks will always happen and sometimes there is little you can do about it; however, by following the above steps, you can drastically lower your chances of being hacked.

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