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How Your Security Camera Can Be Hacked

by Kurt Knutsson - The Cyber Guy - June 4, 2021

The one rule that has served me well has also kept hackers and would be creepy spies from seeing and hearing what happens inside the walls of my family’s home.

Rule #1: No Security Cameras Inside!

Why? Because as a tech reporter I’ve seen first hand how vulnerable our privacy is. Yet one more troubling report comes as a technician gets convicted for spying on ADT customers’ feeds over a period of 4 and a half years before being caught. Just this week, Consumer Reports found 11 security issues in 4 new video doorbell cameras making them easier to be hacked.

Unauthorized access can occur either remotely or locally. Creeps in cars trying to hack into home technology look for easy passwords and little protection of home wireless networks.

You want to make sure to lock out one of the most dangerous threats like would be burglars from gaining access to your security cameras so that you can rely on the benefits of seeing what is happening around your home at any given moment reliably.

Home security cameras have never been more popular and easy to deploy.

There are systems available from company’s like Vivint, ADT, SimpliSafe and Comcast complete with monitoring and then off-the-shelf cameras including Google Nest, Ring, Arlo, Swann, Blink, that sell for as little as $20-$33 like those from Wyze Labs and their newest Wyze Cam v3 Indoor/Outdoor video camera for security.

I have over a dozen security cameras in use at home. I love them. They serve our security needs well and I am disciplined about how they are deployed safely and securely.

At this point, an intruder on the property outside our home will not only be recorded, but the AI camera system notifies us of a person being detected in real time and fires off an audible alert inside the house telling us where a person has been detected in a certain area outside the perimeter.

At some point facial recognition will allow us to identify friendly visitors such as family members and our neighborhood UPS driver.

These are the off-the-shelf security videos cameras I like:

How to Keep Security Cameras Private

  • Stay current with camera software updates that plug security concerns from hackers trying to break in remotely. Choose automatic updates from within your camera settings.

  • Share carefully. We share some of our cameras with trusted neighbors and they can share theirs with us for total coverage on the street side of our property. Make sure you do not share administrative control and that you remain in charge of what gets shared with whom. Limit the access a neighbor has and remove the audio from being shared in case snoopy neighbors want to listen to conversations.

  • Change the default user name and password. For some cameras, hackers count on the fact that a chunk of people never bother to choose their own passwords making them easy to access by others.

  • Stay away from unknown camera brands from company’s without an established reputation. Most important question to ask is how determined is the camera maker to maintain their own operating security of your camera.

  • Choose encrypted connections when possible.

  • In Settings, choose two-factor authentication if available.

Tip: How to Tell Your Video Camera Is Compromised. If you notice a camera feed acting unusual when your internet connection is otherwise strong and unchanged, it could signal an outside attack.

My rule of thumb is to assume that someone else can access and record video from any of our security cameras. I’ve witnessed far too many easily hacked devices taken over and used against innocent people. I also know this reality. You can make home technology as safe as possible, but nothing is fool proof against a determined hacker.


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