Nowadays, security cameras protect many homes, banks, and offices. Their trustworthy, digital eyes keep us wary of robbers as they can record footage of any unfortunate event.
However, most of the time, it doesn’t have to come to that. Simply putting up a camera or two should be enough to deter any potential perpetrator.
In an effort to secure our home, we can place a few cameras in and around the house. After all, we can all benefit from an ever watchful eye (or eyes). However, despite its obvious advantages, a security camera can often become a double-edged sword. The question is — how?
Technology makes our lives easier for the most part. However, its advancement also increases the chance of misuse. After numerous privacy hacks, one can’t help but ask “Can my home security camera be hacked, too?” The short answer is — yes, it can.
Still, we know that our readers are not here for the short answer only. That is why we will also discuss how someone can hack a security camera, as well as a few ways to prevent it. Note that we’ll mostly focus on IP security cameras, due to their dependence on an Internet connection.
How Can My Home Camera Be Hacked?
Surprisingly enough, the actual procedure that a hacker has to follow is not that complex. Of course, that does not mean everybody can do it. Let us look at the steps a hacker would take.
First of all, the hacker needs to locate our IP address. The fact that our IP may be accessible through search engines makes it less difficult.
For example, a hacker can use a dedicated service with a wide range of registered IPs. Once they are successful at finding ours, they will try to breach into our live feed.
Any camera is vulnerable without good encryption. Sadly, not everyone is aware of the importance of a strong password. Even then, a hacker can try to gain access to it in different ways. For example, they might try using default passwords or other cracking methods. By gaining administrative access, a hacker can use our camera for any malicious intent.
What’s worse, a hacker doesn’t have to control our camera manually all the time. Instead, they can simply inject a piece of malware into it. That way, they can turn it on and off whenever they like, or instruct it to record footage.
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Why Would Someone Want to Hack My Security Camera?
If we have many security cameras outside our home, a hacker can use them to map out our residence. Usually, hackers use these to identify an optimal point of entry. In addition, they can also check for any “blind spots” that the cameras do not cover.
On a more serious note, a hacker can use our security camera to recognize a pattern in our daily activities. In other words, they will know exactly when we are usually at home. With this knowledge, they can plan a robbery at the exact time we are out. Moreover, we won’t be able to see who had committed the burglary, as we do not control our cameras anymore.
Apart from planning larceny, one can hack into our security camera “just for fun.” Basically, they can easily turn our house into that of Big Brother. In comparison to the previous reason, that might seem harmless. However, the fact that someone is watching us without our knowledge is nothing short of harassment.
How Can I Tell If Someone Hacked My Camera
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As we previously discussed, there are several ways one can hack our security camera. In spite of that, we can pay attention to a few telltale signs.
First, we should see if our security camera rotates in an unusual way. If it follows our movement, that’s a surefire sign of a hack. Additionally, our camera may be pointing in a different direction.
The second sign is also pretty obvious. If a strange voice is coming through our security camera, that is a huge red flag. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to a couple from Illinois. Namely, a hacker used their Nest camera to speak to their baby and hurl profanities at them.
By performing regular checks, we can notice any changes made to the security settings. By that, we mean upgrading our camera’s firmware and regularly change our master password.
Another way to tell if someone has hacked into our security camera is by watching its data flow. If we notice any spikes in our network traffic, that means that somebody else is (or was) using it.
Finally, we should also check for any randomly flashing lights. That is especially important if we haven’t enabled the LED light on our camera. If it is on, that is a sign that our camera is under a hacker’s control.
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How to Avoid Security Camera Hacks
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It goes without saying that we should buy a camera from a trusted retailer. We highly suggest buying a camera that has advanced security features. These include WPA2-AES, as well as SSL/TLS encryption.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of strong passwords. Therefore, our camera has to have a password that would give any hacker a tough time. An example of such a password is one that uses more than six characters. Additionally, we might want to combine upper-case and lower-case letters with numbers or special characters.
Sometimes, a breach can happen purely by chance. For example, if someone gains access to our Internet router, they can easily hack our CCTV camera, too. If our security system uses a Wi-Fi connection, our router needs a strong password as well. Additionally, it’s a good idea to limit the number of devices that can access our system.
The Bottom Line On Hacking a Security Camera
Everything we’ve said so far must have sounded like a scenario of a Black Mirror episode. Yet, our intention was not to cause panic but to spread awareness instead. Even though we live in a world obsessed with security, we still need to consider both sides of the coin.
With that, we advise our readers not to install security cameras on their own and instead seek professional help. In most cases, regular checks and password changes are all we need to keep our cameras safe from hackers.