Some time ago, a Russian website showed thousands of live feeds from mostly British homes, offices and even those of nurseries. The surveillance attacker did not infect computers with malware or virus to perform the criminal act. It was simply a result of people carelessly leaving baby monitors, CCTV systems and webcams open for attacks.
When the website was contacted by Britain’s Information Security Officer, the owner simply said he was trying to highlight security weaknesses of such gadgets. We tend to be easily impressed by ‘Smart Devices’ but we take little care to prevent the risk involved.
One researcher has shown that it was possible for him to ‘haunt’ a home 100 miles away by simply hacking into the website of their ‘smart’ lighting system. And in 2014, a baby monitor company was penalized in the United States for a weak security system that allows a hacker to spy on and insult a baby via the camera, all from far away.
Thankfully, there are ways you can keep your camera secured and safe from prying eyes.
1. Always change default password
When you first started using the camera you will be given a default password – something like ‘12345’ or a simple ‘password’. It is imperative for you to change it in order to stay safe. Always use difficult to guess password. See some hints on how to come up with a strong password here.
2. Disable remote viewing
For a CCTV camera, remote viewing is essential as it will give you peace of mind to see that your home is safe. However, for other gadgets like baby monitors, it is not necessary to turn on the remote viewing as you are at home anyway. So you don’t need the footage of your child via the internet. In order to disable this feature, go to the Settings menu and turn it off right away after purchasing the device.
3. Switch off camera if it’s not in use
Security experts have shown to the public how your Smart TVs can be easily accessed via the internet. And, by accessing your TV, a malware can give crooks permission to peep at you through your personal computer webcam. If you are not using your camera on your laptop or mobile device, switch it off or put a black tape over the lens.
4. Look where your camera is pointed
Security cameras are aimed at giving you peace of mind. As such you should point the lens at the entrances to your house, and not giving strangers a view of the goods around your home and the people living within it. If the CCTV camera shows a door, hackers are unlikely to strike.