Security Camera Hacking: How To Prevent It
When we think of vulnerable technology, we tend to think of mobile devices and computers. Despite the increase in smart technologies in homes and businesses, we don’t consider security cameras as being at risk. With many security cameras offering remote access and uploading to the cloud, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks.
Security camera hacking is rising, with more businesses and homeowners reporting that their technology has been compromised. Cyber security is vital for all businesses. Ensuring your technology is safe from hacks and threats means keeping your clients’ trust and data secure.
Are my security cameras at risk of being hacked?
The network of connected objects making up the Internet of Things (IoT) grows more and more each day. While it used to refer to a smaller, more exclusive range of technology, it has now expanded to include items ranging from smartwatches and refrigerators to security doors and CCTV. This means that these items are vulnerable to hacks, with exposed security cameras posing a significant risk to businesses and homeowners.
Bloomberg UK revealed in 2021 that hackers had breached thousands of security cameras, with live feeds from over 150,000 surveillance cameras being hacked. These feeds included but were not limited to hospitals, police departments, prisons, schools, and even carmaker Tesla. Your CCTV system is vulnerable, and with findings from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport reporting that “39% of UK businesses identified a cyber attack” within the last 12 months, it is more important than ever to protect your security cameras.
The different hacking methods
Security cameras can be hacked in a number of different ways, depending on the type of attack. Typically, surveillance camera hacks can be categorized as local and remote hacks. So how do hackers gain access to your CCTV system?
Local hacks, also known as local access attacks, refer to hackers gaining access to login information. Many people don’t think to change the default login information. A default username and password are easy to guess, but even when the credentials are changed, hackers could gain access through other means.
Phishing scams are everywhere, using social engineering tactics to deceive victims into sharing valuable data. This information is usually linked to potential passwords or memorable information. Other techniques including brute force attacks to guess passwords and malware could be used to gain the information hackers need to gain local access.
Hackers using remote access methods will gain access to your CCTV system through the network. This could be through technology connected to the same network as your security camera, such as mobile devices, laptops, and smart TVs to name a few. Once hackers have gained access to the system they can then access other vulnerabilities within the network.
Without effective protection or separation on the network, hackers could gain access to anything and everything with access to the internet. You may not even realise that hackers have access until it is too late.
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Effectively preventing security camera hacking
When it comes to data security, it is better to be proactive. There are a number of ways that you can reduce the risk of security camera hacking, with different steps to make it as challenging for hackers to gain access as possible.
The offerings of security cameras are extensive, but not all of these products have undertaken the rigorous testing we would like. This means that products may not be as effective as intended, leaving them vulnerable to hacks.
Opting for reputable manufacturers and reading the reviews can help. Security cameras with high ratings from trusted sources or from brands we know and trust will help to keep your CCTV system safe and secure.
High-level, end-to-end encryption
End-to-end data encryption is key for protecting your data. However, some CCTV systems will not send data in this way. What this means is that hackers could access your data.
Choosing security cameras offering end-to-end encryption and ensuring that they are connected to a separate network is one method used by companies to keep the data safe. With end-to-end encryption, third parties cannot gain access to the information, ensuring any security footage is secure.
Change credentials and use two-factor authentication
Most people don’t think to change the password on their new technology when they install it, especially with technology such as security cameras. Sometimes, your security cameras will come with a default password which is easy to guess. This could be “password” or “0000”. Hackers can easily guess these passwords or use the information they know about you to access the system.
Changing the password and opting for a CCTV system with two-factor authentication is essential for preventing local access attacks. Any attempted logins will trigger the two-factor authentication protocol, alerting you to access attempts and preventing unauthorized logins.
Update firmware frequently
Software and firmware updates can leave people feeling frustrated, especially when technology seems to choose the most inopportune time to push through an update. However, not updating firmware can leave your security camera vulnerable.
Firmware may contain essential updates to keep your data secure. Regularly schedule updates for your systems to limit vulnerabilities and keep your technology up-to-date.
Protecting your security camera from hackers
If you notice that a security camera is in a new position or that the LED lights are on when the cameras aren’t set to be online, it could be a sign that your CCTV has been hacked. However, most businesses don’t recognise the signs until it is too late.
Taking preventative measures, such as changing login credentials, enabling end-to-end encryption, and buying from reputable manufacturers will give your business the secure CCTV system you and your customers deserve.
Carlos Dhunay is the Director of Operations at Telcam Home and Commercial Security System Specialists. Telcam provides reliable and cost-effective installation and maintenance of security and safety systems. With a 24-hour helpline and fast response time, Telcam delivers high-standard services to businesses and homeowners in the UK.
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