One of the biggest concerns when buying connected devices (including video doorbells) is that the device is exposing your home and family to a whole new group of criminals.
In short, yes, your video camera can be hacked, but simple steps can make it very difficult to hack your video doorbell. Because your doorbell sends and receives information over the internet, it can be susceptible to criminals both home and away.
Continue reading to see the various ways criminals can attempt to hack your video doorbell, and the simple steps you can take to stop them.
Why Criminals Hack Doorbells?
There are a few reasons why a criminal would attempt to hack a video doorbell including: access to more sensitive information, access recordings, watch you (or your surroundings), or honor. In this section, I will discuss the various reasons why criminals would attempt to hack your video doorbell.
Access to More Sensitive Information
A criminal may attempt to hack your video doorbell as a way to gain access to more important information like bank accounts, Social Security Numbers, or anything else that can be bought and sold on the internet. In many cases, hackers are attempting to get into a network to place harmful software that can be used to harvest more information.
Video doorbells and any other connected device may be easier to enter because consumers are not as security conscious on these devices. Once a criminal enters through the video doorbell, they place keyloggers and packet sniffers, in hopes that you will send account numbers or username/ password combinations over the internet. Once they have this information, they will either use it or sell it online.
Access Recorded Events
Another reason criminals may attempt to hack your video camera is to access recorded events. Recorded events are clips the video doorbell saves when motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed. These events are either saved locally on a SD card, or in the cloud.
There are many reasons why someone may want to view your events including posting them online and deleting events to cover up a crime. A criminal may post your recordings online for clicks on YouTube or to show proof that video cameras can be hacked.
While highly unlikely, it is possible that a criminal could hack your video doorbell, access your saved files, then delete the event that relates to a crime that the criminal has committed. If the criminal is going through this much trouble, the crime must be pretty big.
Hack to Say that They Did It
The final reason why someone may hack a video doorbell is to simply say that they could do it. They can brag to friends and family that a “little” hacker has hacked into a corporate device. There are many such forums online where people gloat of these accomplishments.
Easy Ways to Hack a Video Doorbell
In this section, I will discuss easy ways that criminals can hack your video doorbell. These methods are very similar to hacking a computer or any other device that connects to the internet. Here is a brief list of easy ways to hack a video doorbell
- Unsecured home network
- Unsecured video doorbell
- Too easy password
- No password
- Using the same password for everything
- Writing the password down
- Other devices
In the below sections, I will discuss these hacking methods, and ways you can stop the hackers from gaining access to your video doorbell.
Unsecured Home Network
An unsecured home network is a network that does not have a password to log in. You can spot an unsecured network easily because the network doesn’t have a lock icon next to the signal strength icon. The criminal simply has to join the network.
Once the criminal joins the network, they have access to all of the devices connected to that network. They can add key loggers, packet sniffers, or lock you out of your network.
To prevent this from happening, simply put a password on your network. If you’re unsure if you have a password, simply open the settings on your phone, tablet, or computer, look at your network connections. If there is a lock next to your network name, you have a password, if there isn’t a lock, you don’t.
The good news is most routers assist you in creating a password during initial setup, but it possible that you don’t have a password.
Unsecured Video Doorbell
Like your router, it is possible that your video doorbell does not have security enabled. Each device has encryption
As I mentioned earlier, criminals may use your video doorbell as a way to gain access to other devices on your network. The criminal will log in through your video doorbell, then attempt to access your network. Once they gain access to your network, they have a few options.
As I mentioned earlier, most video doorbells have security and encryption preinstalled, but it can be disabled by the user. To make sure your video doorbell has security enabled, log into the mobile app, and check the preferences/ settings.
The password is Too Easy
Another easy way to hack a video doorbell or router is by using passwords that are too easy. Passwords are too easy if they are sequential “1234,” use easily identifiable information “
If you are using one of these passwords, or something similar, change it immediately!
The good news is many newer devices force you to create a password that is more difficult that the above. Most devices require the user to create a password that requires the following
- Upper case letter
- Lower case letter
- Minimum number length
This is an easy fix, just review all of your current passwords, and change the ones that are too easy. If you are unable to think of creative passwords, there are websites that generate passwords. Use those websites as ideas, but change those letters and numbers as well.
One Password For All Devices
It seems like everything requires a password: work computer, mobile devices, home computer, etc. While it is easier to use one password for everything, this also creates a huge security risk for everything you own.
While using one password for everything may not seem like a bug deal, criminals have been able to hack into major corporations to harvest data like username, passwords, addresses, and phone numbers. With this information, hackers can use this information to target you and your devices.
Hackers will have an easy time accessing your video doorbell, and other sensitive data, if you use one username and password for all connected devices.
This is also an easy fix, simply think about all of your accounts, if three or more have the same username and password, change the password. Also, it is recommended that passwords are rotated frequently.
Rotating a password simply means changing the password. You can create a schedule to rotate your password every month or quarter.
In addition to password generators, there are also websites that store and encrypt all of your usernames and passwords. These sites are designed to help you manage all of your usernames and passwords. To use these sites, simply create an account, and click yes when prompted to save passwords.
Writing Your Passwords Down
I remember years ago, when debit cards first became popular, that my parents had their PIN taped to their. It was a bad practice then, and it’s a bad practice now. Written passwords are terrible because anyone with wondering eyes can find your passwords.
In addition, when happens if you lose that piece of paper? In addition to you not knowing your passwords, any person that finds that paper has access to all of your personal information.
Writing down passwords may be worse now with the advent of the mobile app. The second that someone finds that paper, they can download your apps, and steal your data.
They also an easy fix, you can use a website that stores and encrypts your username and passwords for safe keeping.
Other Types of Hacking
While there are other types of hacking, those techniques are much more advanced and usually reserved for corporations. Hackers do have the ability to jam your wireless
To conclude, while your video doorbell can be hacked, if you take the below steps, you can reduce your chances greatly.
- Tough passwords
- Password rotation
- Secure your network
- Secure your video doorbell
- Don’t write your passwords down
- Use a service that encrypts and stores your passwords
- Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts
Has your video doorbell or security camera been hacked? What happened? How did you know it was hacked?
Leave a comment below!