Bad password, insecure network, lack of encryption… a poorly configured surveillance camera can compromise your security and privacy. Learn how to protect yourself in six helpful tips.
Whether it’s detecting a package thief, talking to someone who rings your doorbell even when you’re away, or detecting a break-in, installing a surveillance camera (see our test of 15 devices) gives you a sense of security. But are you sure you’re not being followed?
“Like any other object connected to the Internet, a camera can be hacked,” explains Vincent B. Tremblay, a computer security analyst and member of the Hackfest cybersecurity conference team. By hacking into your local network, discovering your password on an underground network, or attacking the servers that store your videos, attackers can turn these devices against you.
The consequences of such an attack are serious. A thief can use your camera to find out when no one is home, turn off security features, and in some cases use them to spy on you.
Fortunately, there are various ways to mitigate these risks. They are here.
1. Change the default username and password
Most new and established surveillance cameras require a new user account to be created upon installation, but older models sometimes come pre-configured with a default username and password.
These passwords are the same for everyone; therefore, it is necessary to change them as soon as possible, choosing a unique, complex and unguessable combination.
2. Turn on 2-Step Verification
More and more surveillance cameras offer two-step authentication: after entering the username and password to access the software, you must enter the security code received in the mobile application, via email or text message.
This mechanism protects you from hackers who may have obtained your password, for example through a data breach.
3. Do Firmware Updates
The manufacturer of your surveillance camera may find security vulnerabilities in their software and fix them with software updates. As with any device, updating the firmware will allow you to take advantage of these latest security features.
The mobile applications and computer software you use to connect to the camera should also be updated regularly.
4. Turn on video encryption
Some cameras—like wired Ring models (but not battery-powered ones)—offer end-to-end video encryption as an added security measure to ensure that only you, and not the manufacturer, can view the data. files.
However, be careful: in some cases, encryption blocks features such as live viewing on multiple devices at the same time and video sharing. So your camera becomes a little more private, but less convenient.
5. Turn off indoor cameras when you’re at home
If you install indoor cameras, turn them off when you’re at home in case an intruder manages to gain access to spy on you.
Several models, including the Arlo, Nest and Ring brands, allow you to do this automatically by analyzing the position of your smartphone. The camera then activates when you leave the house and closes when you return.
6. Protect your network
Cameras that do not comply with best security practices may broadcast their video stream (live image) unencrypted over your local network. If the latter is not secure, anyone can access it.
Basic security tips also apply here: change your router’s default credentials, choose a unique and complex password, and keep your device up to date.
>> Read also: our comparison of 15 surveillance cameras and Surveillance cameras and privacy