We live in a world where we as consumers rush to have the nicest, most comprehensive security systems and packages that money can buy. We have companies emerging every day trying to break into the home security market. I get it and don’t blame you for wanting to protect what matters most.
It’s a crazy world we live in and having that extra peace of mind is critical to a good night’s rest. However, recently I got to wondering about some of the technology we use every day, that in theory is designed to and should protect us from harm. The question I had come to mind was simple in nature. Can CCTV cameras be hacked? After some research, here is what I learned.
So, can CCTV cameras be hacked? Yes, CCTV cameras can be hacked. Research shows that most CCTV cameras can be hacked. Hackers are using a variety of methods to gain access to CCTV systems including taking over IP addresses remotely and taking advantage of default password settings.
A Deeper Look at How the Hackers Are Gaining Access to CCTV Cameras
As mentioned previously hackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities in your CCTV system and network to remote “take over,” access or hack CCTV cameras. Problems with the CCTV system itself range on why and how the hackers can get in. One common issue is related to port forwarding and Dynamic DNS settings.
There have been other problems found that allowed hackers access to your CCTV camera as well. These problems have been linked to issues devices had with running firmware updates.
A More Common Mistake Than One Would Think
Another security flaw that has allowed hackers to gain access to these CCTV cameras is something that could easily be avoided, but surprisingly enough, it commonly isn’t addressed and is often overlooked. Your password.
Hackers take advantage of devices and these CCTV systems more commonly when the system is still in default mode, and passwords and security settings have been left alone or in this “default mode.”
Merely creating a stronger password with unique characters or symbols in addition to running security firmware/software including security updates could dramatically reduce the number of systems that hackers are easily able to gain access to across the world and from remote locations.
Technically- You Are Always at Risk Without Proper Measures and Precautions
When you have any device including CCTV cameras, you are always exposed to the risk of being hacked if secure protocols and encryption measures are not taken.
Virtually any device that is connected to the internet with these weak spots or vulnerabilities is a potential target and can be either hacked or have “remote access” gained by someone you don’t want having access. Pretty alarming to think about but unfortunately, that is the cold hard truth to the matter.
What Measures Can You Take Starting Today to Avoid Your CCTV Cameras from Being Hacked?
I’m sure the second anyone reads this article or any of the hundreds of articles related to CCTV related hacks, the first thing that comes to mind is to immediately do something to protect your devices and keep the peeping toms off your webcam or front driveway security camera live stream. I get it. It’s creepy, and I feel the same way.
The first active step you can take to protecting your CCTV systems and cameras merely is to encrypt the data. This alone makes the life of a hacker that much more difficult.
Additionally, change your usernames and passwords for the device. While you’re at it, go ahead and use this best practice for any device that you own that connects to the internet. Might as well protect them all while we are at it.
Not much of a point keeping a hacker out of your security camera but allowing him access to your computers and other valuable data. Running with security settings out of default or factory mode and creating difficult passwords can go a long way to ensuring that hackers have a much more difficult time gaining access not only to your CCTV but all other devices connected and live over the internet.
Something That May Surprise You- It’s Not Always Professionals Gaining Access
It’s been shown that although the information and images/videos that are broadcasted or stored across CCTV cameras, it’s not necessarily a professional hacker or someone with extreme background or knowledge in hacking that’s capable of gaining control.
CCTV cameras are well known for using these “default passwords” we discussed previously, and when the video is stored or streamed with needing zero authentication, it makes the job of hacking the information doable for someone even with limited hacking knowledge. Another strong argument for changing that password!
The Plot Thickens- The Hacking Abilities Show Even More Disturbing Stories
One last point about the vulnerability of CCTV cameras. Following this, I will try to stop planting these random fears into your mind. CCTV cameras that do show vulnerability for the reasons already stated previously are hacked so commonly that communities are being built and making a “mockery of it.”
Dedicated areas of the internet known as anonymity-protecting tools make this live camera feeds available to many by using social networks such as VK.com.
The software and tools can gain access to the cameras that again are using “default passwords” and allowing video stream with no authentication. Once access is gained, the information seems to be used for pure “fun”.
The information streamed from live cameras or from cameras where a password has been hacked is shared in what’s known as “fun sections” of underground forums and social networks.
Sometimes these are used purely for viewing for people who have the capability of enjoying these feeds and sometimes it’s used for dedicated prank groups who perform camera pranks.
What’s A Camera Prank?
A camera prank is where people or hackers will have access to the live feed from the CCTV and play different audio recordings or even interact with the individuals on the live-stream or camera-stream. I know, even more creepy.
Are CCTV Cameras Secure- Everything Else Aside?
I’m sure this post will give you some reservations that are tough to overcome when it comes to how secure CCTV cameras really are. Keep in mind, that everything mentioned in this post wasn’t related to the CCTV camera itself being vulnerable or not secure. It has much more to do more with user-error and in all honesty, ignorance.
CCTV cameras can be secure without issue if you follow the protocols and ensure you are keeping the device up to date and using strong enough passwords and security measures.
The cameras exposed are the ones that have left themselves wide open to the threats and the malicious and disturbing world we live in today. In theory, outside of these blatant errors by the user, nothing is wrong with using Wi-Fi enabled security cameras or any CCTV camera for that matter.
Just exercise some caution and take the few necessary steps to protect yourself from the underground hacking world.
Putting It All Together- We Live in A Scary World- Better Safe Than Sorry
So, let’s recap for a moment. Can CCTV cameras be hacked? Absolutely and it happens extremely frequently. The best way to protect yourself or business is to change usernames, alter passwords and attempt to create a password with some level of difficulty.
The more difficulty your password entails with unique characters and symbols, the much tougher you make the life of a hacker, and your chance of your devices having access granted diminish greatly.
Outside of that, require authentication for video streaming or live-feeds and encrypt data if you understand how to or speak to a professional about your best options to protect your devices.
Can Wired Security Cameras Be Hacked?
Yes, the same will apply to wired camera security systems. If passwords are weak and security settings are left in either “default” or a vulnerable state, a hacker can gain access to a wired security system just as quickly as they can gain access to a CCTV.
Can You Tell If Your Webcam Has Been Hacked?
Often, you will not notice if a webcam has been hacked. A definite warning sign is a blinking light next to the webcam either illuminating a solid light or blinking light. You can also take measures to prevent this from happening such as the following.
- Disabling Remote Access to Your Computer
- Keep Your Firewall Enabled
- Keep A Secure Wi-Fi Connection
- Have Antivirus Software Installed on Your Computer
- Avoid Spammy Looking Click Bait