Can Your Security Cameras Be Hacked To Watch You?
The short answer is yes, but there are steps you can take to prevent this!
Home automation company Nest branched into home security in 2014 – just months after itself being acquired by Google – and wasted no time expanding into new territory with cross-platform potential. Much like Apple’s iPhone evaded cyber criminals for long stretches before earning their interest, hackers weren’t wasting time on unproven channels until the targets offered a more lucrative opportunity.
That opportunity came in the form of increased market share.
An Arizona man discovered this in a most unsettling way recently, when someone reached out to him through his home security camera.
Did You Recently Get A Tech Gadget Or Gizmo As A Gift?
Motion-activated “doorbell” cameras or other home security camera devices, like the one in Arizona, connect through a home’s wireless network. In the Arizona situation, the “voice” declared himself to be a white hat hacker, who claimed to be testing this system and others like this for vulnerabilities he can take back to the manufacturer. The hacker also notified the occupant of the home how he was not only able to access his network, but also the passwords he used – and suggested the occupant change his passwords immediately. Would a criminal mind share such insight?
When consumers connect devices like video doorbells and security cameras to your home network, before finding yourself in the situation where a hacker is giving you advice – or worse – Luis Alvarez, CEO of the Alvarez Technology Group offers insight on a few steps you can take to safeguard yourself from being watched by your own security camera system:
• Read the user manual and follow the security tips!
• Check if there are known issues. A simple Google search will tell you if you have anything to be concerned about.
• Even if there aren’t known issues, check for firmware or software updates for the device – better safe than sorry!
Aside from this advice, you can also protect yourself with all technology by following these guidelines in the case of anything for which you establish a user ID and password:
• Choose a unique user ID
• Create complex passwords, ideally 10 characters or longer using a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
• Avoid repeating the same credentials for multiple devices or websites
Tis The Season
Every December, the digital world explodes with an influx of user IDs and passwords from new devices received as holiday gifts, more and more of which are connected to home wireless networks for “smart” purposes. Unfortunately, the security precautions that should be taken are often overshadowed by the excitement that comes with new gadgets. If the recommended security steps aren’t followed, and the user ID/password advice above isn’t taken into consideration, consumers are left vulnerable. Come January, hackers explore and enjoy new playgrounds.
Once a hacker determines a user ID and password combination, the next logical step is to try this combination for social media and financial institution websites, and then expand from there into other websites or apps, especially if web search results show other sites related to you.
What makes this even more attractive to hackers is that, while IP addresses are generally dynamic, once assigned they tend to stay the same for long periods of time – often more than a year. In the case of your home wireless network, once a device on this network is accessed, entry is granted into the network allowing hackers access to other devices. The devices that monitor your home are those that extend beyond the firewall and are the devices that cause the trouble because of this very issue.