Security cameras are more affordable than ever before. With millions of cameras installed in homes and businesses and connected to the internet for remote viewing, they will be a target for hackers.
Can security cameras get hacked? Security cameras can be hacked if they are connected to a network or the internet. Some cameras are less likely to be hacked than others, but there are simple measures that you can apply to make your system less vulnerable to hacking.
- Why do security cameras get hacked?
- How do security cameras get hacked?
- How can you tell if your security cameras were hacked?
- What do you do if your security cameras are hacked?
- Does having security cameras make your network less secure?
- What is a VPN?
- How can you prevent your security cameras from getting hacked?
- Can baby monitors get hacked?
Why do security cameras get hacked?
There are a few different reasons why cameras get hacked. A hacker’s job is to hack into anything they can. Sometimes it could be to gain access to private information, and the most likely reason to hack into security cameras is to see what they’re not supposed to see.
How do security cameras get hacked?
Security cameras can be hacked locally within your network or remotely from outside your network through the internet.
A hacker will hack into your network either through an unsecured Wi-Fi connection or router to gain access locally. Once inside, they have access to all your computers, files, video, pictures, and even your security cameras.
A remote hack is when they hack into your security cameras from the internet through a camera with a weak password or no password at all, or outdated firmware.
What happens when someone hacks into your security cameras?
It all depends on who or what is hacking into your system. A hacking attack doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is trying to access your cameras. Many hacking attacks are performed by internet bots.
Internet bots are also called web robots or just bots. Bots are a software application that runs automated tasks over the internet.
Bots are designed to crawl the internet looking for vulnerable networks; once inside your network, they find devices with weak or no passwords or software with outdated security patches.
Most of the time, these bots just create trouble; they delete your user name and passwords, max out camera settings like contrast and color to the point where the camera’s images are blacked out to make it look like they’re not working at all.
Other hacking attacks involve people gaining access to unsecured networks and then into your cameras, allowing them to view your cameras.
They do this by using software that forces their way into the system by trying thousands of user names and passwords combinations until they find the right combination.
The good news is that most of the newer systems will lock your account if someone tries to log in with more than three unsuccessful attempts.
How can you tell if your security cameras were hacked?
Wireless cameras usually have a small light on the front of the camera that changes color when someone is logged into it and viewing the camera.
If you see this light change color and know that no one in your family is viewing the camera, it’s best to turn off the camera and contact the manufacturer.
For hardwired cameras, if an actual person does the hacking with only the intention of viewing your cameras, then it’s tough to know that you were hacked. The only way of knowing is to check your system’s log history.
Every time a user logs in to the system remotely, the username, the IP address, and time and date are recorded, so it’s a good idea to check your system’s log occasionally.
If a Bot hacked your system, then the chances are that you will know that you were hacked.
Typical symptoms of Bot hacking are not being able to log into your system or the camera names have changed.
So, for example, if one camera was labeled front door camera, it will be changed to something like “you’ve been hacked,” or your camera’s image is completely blacked out.
What do you do if your security cameras are hacked?
Getting hacked is a pain in the neck. As a security system installer, I’ve had a few customers who were hacked, and it’s a complete waste of time for them and me.
- I would see if there is an update available for the camera’s app on my phone and change the password for wireless cameras.
- The first thing I do to a hacked system for hardwired cameras is go into the settings, and I default all the settings back to the factory defaults.
- Then I check the manufacturer’s website for software updates. If you got hacked, chances are your firmware is out of date.
Some newer systems have a firmware auto-update where you get alerted every time there is a new update. Otherwise, you can go for years and not know there are updates for your system.
If your system has the auto-update feature, make sure you enable it.
If you have the latest firmware, then the only thing you can do to the system is to change your password to a more secure one and change the password for your router and your Wi-Fi.
Some security cameras are not as likely to get hacked into as others.
Some of the newer systems are so secure that the equipment owner gets locked out because they forgot their password.
If you enter the wrong password more than three times, you’re locked out for at least 24 hours.
Does having cameras make your home network less secure?
If you want to view your cameras remotely from your smartphone or computer, you must open a door into your network to allow you to log in to your cameras from the outside world.
These doors into your network are called ports, and if an open port allows you to get into your network, it also allows a hacker to get in. A secure network is one where there are no open ports.
This is important even if you don’t have security cameras. If you have Video game consoles, you might have open ports in your router.
One way around this is to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which creates a secure tunnel into your network without opening any ports.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a virtual private network. It is common in business applications to allow employees to remotely access business files and documents.
- With a VPN, someone working from home can log into the company’s VPN and access all the files as if they were working at their desk in their office.
- A VPN is a very secure connection, and most companies with security cameras in multiple buildings use a VPN to connect and view their cameras.
- Although VPNs are usually used for businesses, homeowners can have this set up for their homes by setting up a VPN on their router.
What can you do to prevent being hacked?
Hackers are not targeting you personally. They don’t know who you are, and they don’t want to break into your house as soon as you leave your home.
Hackers are always looking for the low-hanging fruit, the easy targets, so just by doing the basics, you’re far less likely ever to get hacked.
Change the default user name and password of your router
Start with your router. Your router is your gateway to the internet, and your internet service provider provides you with a modem and a router.
Once installed, you should log into your router and change the password for both the router itself and the Wi-Fi password.
Did you know that when you buy a new router, the default password for almost all routers is “password”?
Log into your router and change the default password from “password” to something at least eight characters long containing numbers, letters and symbols.
Check for any firmware updates for your router. Updates often contain new security patches.
Most people don’t even have a password for their Wi-Fi, allowing anyone within range to log into their network. Once they are logged into your network, they can do whatever they want to all your devices on your network. So, make you need a password to log into your Wi-Fi.
While you’re in your router’s setting, make sure the encryption key is changed from WAP to WPA2.
There are plenty of YouTube videos that walk you through making these changes on your router, or you can call your internet service provider to help you, or they can even do it for you if they provide you with the router.
Update your security cameras or DVRs firmware
Always make sure your security camera equipment has the latest firmware installed. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to hack into your system, and the security manufacturers are constantly coming out with new updates.
Change the default password in your cameras
Change the passwords in your cameras and digital recorders. Most cameras that get hacked are using the default passwords, which are usually 1234, 12345, or password. Newer systems make you change the password as soon as you turn it on.
Turn on two form factor verification
Most apps for wireless cameras, such as Ring, Nest, and Arlo, have a two-form factor verification process.
This verification process requires that you enter a code sent to your phone number when someone attempts to log in to your cameras.
Two-form factor verification is the most secure way to log into your wireless security cameras.
Update the firmware in your security cameras
If you have wireless cameras such as Nest, Ring, Arlo, or any of the most popular brands, all you have to do is keep the app updated on your phone.
When you update the app, it automatically updates the settings in the camera, so when you install the app on your phone, make sure you have auto-update checked off in your phone’s settings.
So, to wrap it up, follow the basic steps, and you are far less likely ever to get hacked.
Can baby monitors be hacked?
If you are using a baby monitor that is not connected to the internet, then no, it cannot be hacked.
There are two types of baby monitors. Even though they are both wireless, they use two different technologies to operate.
The most secure type is an RF (Radio Frequency) type that works like your TV’s remote control. The camera and monitor are programmed to a specific frequency where the camera transmits its video signal to a dedicated monitor.
This type of camera cannot be viewed on anything other than the monitor that it came with. They are sold as a kit with one camera and one or two video monitors.
But if you want to monitor your child while you are out of the house, you have no choice but to install an internet Wi-Fi camera. So, keep in mind that anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to hacking.
By following the steps mentioned above, you can significantly reduce the chances of someone hacking into your baby monitor.