How to Protect Security Cameras Against Hackers

Home security cameras make you and your property safer, right? If yours connect to the internet, they could put you at risk of burglaries and data breaches. How can you protect your surveillance system from hackers?

Why Hackers Want to Access Your Security Cameras

Home security cameras get hacked because they’re abundant. According to one estimate, over 180.7 million households will have them by 2027, an 82.8% increase from 2023. As they grow in number, they’ll become bigger targets.

Steal Your Data

Once hackers infiltrate your home network, they can view, intercept and steal data. They’d likely go after personally identifiable information (PII) like your name, address and phone number. However, they’ll also try to get your credit card details and login credentials.

Launch Cyberattacks

Internet-connected security cameras can provide a jumping-off point for various cyberattacks. For example, if hackers pull yours into a botnet, they can use it to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Track Your Movement

Hackers might hack into your security cameras and watch the live video feed to monitor your comings and goings. When you’re away from home, they can burglarize you. Although such a convoluted and high-risk plot is unlikely, it’s not impossible.

Control Other Devices

Hackers can take control if your security cameras are connected to a hub or other devices. For example, they could take over your smart thermostat and lights. Unfortunately, it only takes one device to compromise the entire IoT ecosystem.

Spy on You

Sometimes, people who hack into smart devices are just bored — and causing trouble is fun for them. Instead of stealing your data or roping your security cameras into a botnet, they’ll try to remain undetected so they can invade your privacy.

How Are Security Cameras Hacked?

Hackable security cameras weren’t an issue a few decades ago. Now that modern internet-connected models exist, hackers can remotely exploit their vulnerabilities to infiltrate your home network.

While internet protocol cameras — which provide digital surveillance using the internet — are better than analog, they introduce the potential for a breach and cyberattacks. Even though modern devices are vulnerable to hacking, most people still use them because they perform better and offer high-quality video.

Threat actors can hack your security cameras in multiple ways. One of the most common is through your Wi-Fi. They can infiltrate your network and access connected devices if they brute-force your password. They won’t even have to put in much effort if you never changed the default credentials or factory settings.

Hackers can easily exploit well-known vulnerabilities since Internet of Things (IoT) devices are infamously unsecured. There’s even a search engine for internet-connected devices — Shodan — they can use to find and target your security cameras.

How Can You Tell if Your Security Camera Is Hacked?

You should know if your security camera has been hacked because IoT attacks are becoming increasingly common. There were 112 million of them in 2022, up from 80 million in 2018. Being able to recognize the warning signs can protect you and your data.

The most obvious sign your security camera has been hacked is independent movement. If it’s swiveling or moving on its own, that means someone is remotely controlling it. Of course, you’ll only be able to use this as an indicator if your device is capable of motion.

The second most noticeable sign is poor performance. When hackers use your security cameras for nefarious purposes, they often take up too much processing power and memory. Their resource-intensive actions can reveal their presence.

If you notice your internet is suddenly extremely slow for no reason, your security camera — and possibly your other smart gadgets — have likely been pulled into a botnet. Your connection will become sluggish if a hacker attempts to launch a cyberattack using your devices.

Not all signs are something you must wait to notice — some you can check yourself. Your security camera’s IP history can reveal if someone accessed it from an unusual location. If you see a bunch of unfamiliar access attempts, you’ve likely been hacked.

Tips to Secure Your Security Cameras From Hackers

If you’re like most people, you worry someone will use your smart devices to infiltrate your home network. About 49% of security camera users worry about hackers. Luckily, you can do multiple things to protect your data and your IoT ecosystem from threat actors.

1.   Wi-Fi Security

Your router is a likely entry point for hackers to access your security cameras.  You need a strong password if you don’t want to let them in. It should be 16 characters long and use a mix of punctuation, letters and numbers. Avoid using words, dates or numerical sequences.

2.   Network Segmentation

Network segmentation prevents hackers from moving throughout your network laterally, minimizing the damage they can do. Have at least three segments for the Wi-Fi you, your guests and your IoT devices use.

3.   Firmware Updates

All security cameras have an operating system, so they need consistent firmware updates. Additionally, manufacturers often release software updates to fix vulnerabilities. Ensure you keep your internet-connected devices up to date to keep hackers from exploiting them.

4.   Multifactor Authentication

Most modern security cameras have a graphical user interface. If yours does, secure it with multifactor authentication to prevent hackers from accessing it even if they have your legitimate login credentials.

5.   Virtual Private Network

A virtual private network (VPN) can give you end-to-end network security since it transmits data through an encrypted tunnel. You must choose a reputable service provider to ensure your information and network aren’t at risk.

6.   Video Encryption

Encrypting your security camera’s video during storage and in transit turns it into unreadable blocks, preventing hackers from viewing it. This way, you won’t have to worry about someone secretly tracking your movements or spying on you.

Protect Your Data and Your Property With These Tips

Modern security cameras’ vulnerability to hacking makes them less useful than they should be. Fortunately, you can prevent threat actors from infiltrating your network and gaining access to a live video feed of your home. You’ll have peace of mind as long as you stay on top of password changes and firmware updates.