How to Tell if Your Security Cameras Have Been Hacked

Though technology offers many advantages to facilities managers and security professionals regarding safety, criminals can hack into a facility’s security cameras. This ability can put your operation in danger of robbery, damage, or ransomware. Here are four signs someone’s hacked you and four ways you can protect your surveillance system from potential threats.

Can Security Cameras Be Hacked?

Yes, they can. Almost any device that uses internet connectivity can be hacked, and you could be at risk of compromise if you don’t set the proper precautions. Depending on the scenario, you might be more vulnerable to a cyberattack than you realize.

If you’re still using the same default settings your security camera came with or haven’t updated your surveillance firmware in a while, the chances of a successful cyberattack increase. The same can be said if you haven’t updated your surveillance camera’s firmware. Luckily, both of these are easy changes.

4 Signs Your Security Camera Has Been Hacked

Even though you don’t want to think about it, criminals can hack into security cameras relatively easily if you don’t take the right steps or put procedures in place. In the event of a suspected hacking, there are a few signs you can look for.

1. Strange Sounds and Unfamiliar Voices

One key way to identify a criminal hacking into your security camera is if you start hearing strange and unfamiliar voices or sounds. Most security cameras have a two-way talk feature. If hackers don’t block the sound on their side, it can accidentally cause noise or static disruption to come through your camera.

2. Unrecognized Email Addresses or Other Log-ins

In most cases, if you see an email address or log-in information you don’t recognize, it could indicate a hack. To avoid being caught, many hackers prefer not to change your details or log-ins—your password, email address, or username. However, some will slip up and do so. A more direct sign your security camera has been hacked is when your log-in information and passwords no longer work.

Many security cameras have a history log you can easily access to see past log-ins. Check these frequently to verify if someone outside your operations is checking the cameras. Discrepancies to note are sign-ins in odd locations or times.

3. Strange or Unexplained Camera Movements

This sign is rather self-explanatory—if your camera moves without your say-so, it clearly indicates something is wrong. The blinking red LED light on your security camera can also be a strange movement if it’s blinking when you’re not using it. Monitor these camera movements to ensure it’s not simply a co-worker using the device.

4. Increased Data Usage

In the day and age of fiber and uncapped Wi-Fi, people should be more vigilant about data usage. Some camera apps allow you to see exactly how much data your security camera uses. Keep an eye out for dramatic spikes in data usage. Another subtle indication can be if your Wi-Fi suddenly becomes slower—however, this is not always a sign of a hack.

4 Tips to Protect Your Security Cameras Against Cyberattacks

Being hacked is a constant fear many families and businesses face each day. However, you can use a few tips and tricks to protect your facility.

1. Change Passwords Frequently

Although this seems like a simplistic approach, it can be very effective—especially if you’ve been using the same password for a long time and across multiple devices. Make sure to change your security camera password frequently. Another password you should change just as regularly is your Wi-Fi password.

2. Keep Security Camera Firmware up to Date

If you haven’t recently updated your security camera’s firmware, this also increases the likelihood of a cyberattack. Regularly updating your camera’s software ensures your device has the latest security updates. This makes it even harder for ransomware—which incurred losses of over $29 million in the U.S. in 2020—to infiltrate your surveillance network.

3. Use a VPN When Accessing Your Camera Remotely

If you constantly access your camera remotely, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN lowers the chances of a cyberattack. You connect your device to an encrypted network, making it extremely unlikely to be hacked.

4. WPA-AES Encryption

This is another great option if you frequently access your camera through Wi-Fi. The WPA-AES feature encrypts your security camera footage, which makes it even more difficult for a criminal to hack or hijack. Check to see if this feature is active on your security camera—otherwise, you might be at risk.

Stop a Hack Into Security Cameras Before It Starts

With the internet being a crucial part of daily life, taking the necessary precautions to protect your devices against cyberattacks has become critical. Ensuring your security camera’s software updates regularly, changing passwords frequently, and using VPNs when you access feeds remotely can drastically reduce your chances of being hacked. Utilize the above four steps, and have more peace of mind about the safety and reliability of your security system.

Zac Amos covers smart homes, cybersecurity, and other trending tech topics and is the Features Editor at ReHack. You can find more of his work by following him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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