How do you prevent someone from hacking into your IP camera? I’m going to share five actionable steps you can do today.
Before we get into the five steps, look at the diagram below (from right to left) to understand how a WiFi or IP camera works.
The camera connects to an internet network (eg. your home or business WiFi) which shares your camera footage to the internet (preferably to a secure online server or cloud), allowing you to access that footage from a PC, phone or tablet.
The vulnerable part of this process is 1) the internet network you’re using and 2) where your camera footage is shared on the internet.
Ok, let’s look at the five steps you can do today to protect your cameras from being hacked.
1. Secure your internet network
If you’re using an IP camera, the ‘internet network’ refers to your local WiFi network.
The best thing you can do to protect your internet network is to have a strong WiFi password. This is how to create secure passwords that you will remember.
The second best thing you can do is limit the amount of people you give your password to and yes this includes friends.
If for some reason you need to give your password out to others (e.g. guests staying at your home) then I suggest you regularly change your password.
If someone has access to your WiFi, it’s not just your cameras you need to be worried about, but your computer and all it’s contents.
Take action: review your current WiFi password right now and change it to something more secure.
2. Password protect your cameras
If you’re a Cammy customer we ensure a secure method of receiving the footage without exposing your cameras to hackers, so you can breathe easy.
If you already have cameras or are thinking of buying DIY cameras, this is what you need to know.
Most IP cameras come with software that is pre-loaded to make remote viewing possible. The problem is that when the software is loaded by the camera manufacturers, each camera is given the same default username and password.
While most people change the default password when setting up their camera, many don’t. This leaves cameras accessible to anyone via the internet, especially those with the same type of camera who know the default password.
Let me explain.
Imagine your camera password represents a key to a door. Even if a hacker has your key, they still need to find the door, otherwise the key is useless.
When the footage from your camera is sent to a secure server or cloud it’s like being behind a door a hacker can’t easily find.
However even if your cameras are attached to a secure cloud, you may not want a hacker to have the key to your door so for this reason we suggest you change the default password of your cameras.
Take action: Change the default password of your camera. Because each camera is different, you will need to Google “How to change WiFi camera password for (brand X]” and follow the instructions.
3. Avoid port forwarding to your IP camera
The router you use comes with built in security that blocks certain applications from accessing your home network.
However, some people choose to set up port forwarding for things like XBox’s which might be ok, but when it comes to IP cameras I don’t recommend you do this.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you’re probably safe (you have to actively open port forwarding so you will know if you have done that).
Take action: If you are currently port forwarding to your IP camera, stop!
4. Change the default password of your router
Just like your camera comes with a default password, so does your router. Again, most people change this password when setting up their home WiFi.
Take action: If you haven’t changed the default password of your router, here is how to do it.
5. Update your camera’s firmware
Similar to an app on your phone, IP camera manufacturers will update your camera’s firmware from time to time with small enhancements. The thing is, the improvements are so incremental and the manual update so complicated that most people need not worry about updating their camera’s firmware.
The problem only arises when a camera manufacturer discovers a flaw that might expose the camera to hacking. When this happens, updating the firmware is strongly advised.
Some IP camera manufacturers will ask you to register your camera with them so they can update you if there’s a new version of firmware. Otherwise you will need to check the manufacturer’s website for new updates.
Updating your IP camera to the latest firmware version is different for every camera so it’s best to refer to the camera manufacturer.
Take action: Check the website of your camera’s manufacturer and search for information on firmware. It’s unlikely you will need to update to the latest firmware unless the manufacturer has found a flaw that makes a camera vulnerable to hacking.
Preventing your IP camera from being hacked comes down to a few simple steps. I have given you 5 actionable things you can do today to protect yourself.
- Secure your internet network
- Password protect your cameras
- Avoid port forwarding to your IP camera
- Change the default password of your router
- Update your camera with the latest firmware (if your current firmware has a flaw)