Are WiFi cameras safe? WiFi Home security cameras are designed to minimize the risk of intruders and ensure family safety. However, where there are benefits of those wireless home surveillance cameras and baby monitors, there are also potential security concerns for them. How secure is your WiFi-enabled monitoring cameras?
Hacked security cams are pretty dangerous. Research shows thousands of WiFi cameras have been hacked. (Go to hacked security camera list for more details.) A site once revealed 73,011 unsecured cameras in 256 countries. ABC news also reported a baby monitor hacked to watch and control a 2-year-old kid. How ironic. Devices offering security guarantees can actually be used by hackers to invade your privacy, and eventually violate your security. Therefore,how to use WiFi surveillance cameras safely, i.e. how to prevent wireless IP camera hacking, has been of great urgency.
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Part 1. How WiFi Enabled Surveillance Cameras Get Hacked?
Searching Google, you will find certain hacked wireless home security cameras list. Maybe yours is in the list. But how does someone hack into your IP cameras?
Most of those hacking WiFi cameras in the unsecured IP camera list got peered into due to default password or lack of password protection.
What’s worse, some WiFi cameras lack elementary security features. They fail to support SSL/TLS encryption, which makes IP cameras video surveillance footage vulnerable to hackers. And users’ lack of awareness to security between cameras and the router also lead to WiFi cam hack issues.
Online security consultant E. Homakov, explained that hackers also use technique called “clickjacking” to deceive people. Those applications have HTML and CSS codes that create an almost invisible type of source on the files created. This source places the “allow” near something that the user can click, such as the “play” button. So when the Internet user chooses the option to close or play content, they are actually permitting someone to access their webcams and IP cameras.
Part 2. Tips and Tweaks to Safeguard Wireless Webcams and IP Cameras
Wireless webcams and IP cameras aren’t as secure as you might think. But fortunately, here are some easy things you can do to protect your WiFi home security system, including webcams and security cameras from hackers.
Tip 1: Make Your Home Wireless Network Secure
Firstly, securing your WiFi network is the first and also the most basic thing you can do to protect your WiFi IP cameras from being violated by hackers. This may include using WPA2-AES encryption method, changing a stronger password for home router, changing the default SSID name, turning off guest networking and more things you can think of.
Tip 2: Create a Strong Password for WiFi Cameras
You may forget to create a password or even misunderstand that it is impossible to set a password. The fact is, this leaves an open door for hackers to easily gain access to the device and, through the device, to the wireless network to which it’s connected.
Some of you may not change the default password of WiFi monitoring systems after purchase. This is extremely dangerous. Thus, change the default password and choose a strong one. It is better to combine letters, both upper and lower cases, numbers and symbols. The more complicated a passwords is, the more difficult it is to be guessed. Website tips about how to hack IP camera passwords can also give you clues for creating a stronger password, which is hard to be hacked.
Tip 3: Turn off Remote Online Monitoring
Many WiFi enabled surveillance cameras support remote viewing, so you can monitor your home even when you are away. But there is a hidden concern that an app or website is able to remotely log into your security camera, which can be exposed to hackers. So consider turning off this feature when you are not about to use it.
Tip 4: Update the Camera’s Firmware Regularly
Usually manufacturers of WiFi cameras would update their firmware to enhance performance especially when some flaws come out. So keep updating firmware for the latest one. You can check camera manufacturer’s official website and see if you can update.
Tip 5: Purchase a WiFi Camera from a Trusted Source
When you are choosing a new wireless camera system, there are quite a few sources for you to choose. You can find various wireless security cameras buying sites, like Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, and some trusted company websites, where you can see versatile CCTV camera brand. Always remember to choose a reliable one with good customer service.
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Tip 6: Disconnect Your Webcam When You are Not Using It
The application Webcam On-Off is developed especially for those who have laptops or computers with a built-in webcam. You can turn off your webcam whenever you want. This application avoids any kind of problems derived from the possible invasion of your webcam.
You can also disconnect the USB webcams desktops, or disable it in the BIOS or operating system. The latter methods may also be useful to disable the microphone on desktops and laptops as well.
Tip 7: Cover the Lens of Your Webcam
It may seem absurd, but since hackers developed malware able to see us and hear through the webcams and microphones you have to take some drastic measures.
Luckily, tapes are still a way to protect you from cyber threats and they are extremely easy to use and accessible to everybody. When there is a need to use your webcam, you can simply remove the piece of tape and put it back after you use it. A good tip to leave no adhesive residue on the lens is to use the adhesive in conjunction with a piece of paper.
Tip 8: Beware Password Recovery Emails
The option to recover a forgotten password that is present in almost every service can be a real problem nowadays. Only a few people know that this service is a prime target for cybercriminals.
There are several people who care about this sort of thing, but imagine this: what would happen to your digital life if a hacker had access to your Gmail account you use to recover all of your passwords? The best alternative to solve this is to use complex e-mail addresses that are used solely for this purpose.
Tip 9: Complement Your Machine Protection with Anti-Malware Programs
The safety tip that Windows users usually listen to is “to install and update the antivirus on your computer”. This is a good tip, but an anti-virus is unable to detect all kinds of virtual threat.
Therefore, you should opt for one protection tool against malware and to do periodic scans using anti-malware tools. Having those programs installed, you will not only protect yourself from malicious files and sites, but also be able to identify and remove the viruses that are endangering the proper functioning of your computer.
Tip 10: Secure Your Outdoor Home Security Camera
Installing your outdoor home camera in a safe, comfortable place is also an important point, but often ignored by most people and those popular safety guidelines online. Outdoor security camera damage does happen in daily life. A mom of a 5-year-old naughty boy said that, her security camera installed outdoor was once destroyed while her son and other kids were playing.
So, to secure your WiFi cameras outdoor should also be on your list. This mainly includes 2 things: preventing your camera from being stolen by burglars, and protecting it from harsh weather, like heavy rain, intense code and heat. Although many wireless surveillance cameras are waterproof, it is better for you to choose a comfortable place, and also a secret one in case of burglars, for installation.
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Since WiFi image and video cameras have serious security weakness, high chances are that someone somewhere hacked into your WiFi camera and were watching you over a laptop or a smartphone. Consider these tips above-mentioned to preserve cameras from being hacked, and improve security of your WiFi enabled home camera.