Protect Your Video Surveillance System from Hackers

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 by under Cameras, Cyber Security/Hacking, Smart Home

In August 2013, security researcher Qualys uncovered the ease at which some video surveillance systems can be hacked.

With cameras placed within our homes or pointed to guard our most valuable possessions, none of us would be happy to discover that hackers have a front-row seat to our video feeds.

Yet, with data stored online and a tech-savvy intruder, it is a valid concern. Without the proper security measures in place, a hacker could potentially scope out your home from afar, disarm security systems, spy on your family, etc.

So, what steps can you take to protect your home from a cyber invasion? Below, we outline best practices to keep your data—and in turn, your home—secure.

Use Secure Passwords

Whatever you do, don’t keep the default password assigned with your security system. This is one of the easiest ways for someone to uncover your login information. In fact, a CNN Money article pointed out that all a hacker needs to do is a quick search on Shodan, a computer search engine, for “default password.”

For all network-connected devices, choose your password wisely. Use a combination of letters, numbers, symbols and capitalization. Test the strength of your potential password with this online tool. Doublecheck too that your password isn’t among the most popular used.

Install Firewalls and Antivirus Software

Be sure firewalls and antivirus software are installed on any computers that may access your security system. Firewalls protect against hackers and malicious code. Antivirus software guards against viruses and malware.

If someone is able to gain access to your computer, they may be able to uncover your home security system passwords.

Limit Authorized Devices

On top of password-protection, ask if you can configure your security system so that it can only be accessed remotely via authorized devices. This way, you can add your laptops, smartphones, etc., but limit other non-approved devices from signing into your mobile security account.

You still have the convenience of anytime, anywhere access from your commonly used devices, but there’s an added level of security involved.

Ask Smart Questions

Ask your vendor what they are doing to ensure that your system is secure from attacks. Inspired by a CE Pro article, the following questions will offer a good starting point:

  • Is data encrypted? It should be.
  • What processes are in place to ensure password strength? You’re not the only one with passwords to protect; integrators can be just as guilty of using defaults.
  • Do you rely on open ports or port forwarding? Both are susceptible to hacking. Look for a provider that relies on virtual private networks instead. Hosted video solutions also use encryption protocols designed to protect the connection integrity of the service. Check if your provider has hosted video solutions that provide this level of security.

Seek out a vendor that values network security, just as much as physical security.

What questions do you have in regard to network security? Share them below.

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