How To Prevent IP Camera Hacking

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 an IP camera works. The camera connects to an internet network (eg. your home wifi) which shares your camera footage to the internet (preferably to a secure online server or cloud), allowing you to access that footage from PC, phone or tablet.

how-ip-cameras-work

The vulnerable part of this process is a) the internet network you’re using and 2) where your camera footage is shared on the internet.

Ok, let’s get into 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 at home, the ‘internet network’ refers to your home WiFi.

The best thing you can do to protect your internet network is to have a strong 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 out 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 home 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 home WiFi password right now and change it to something more secure.

2. Password protect your cameras  

If you’re a Cammy user and have set up IP cameras with our software we ensure you create a secure method of receiving the footage without exposing your cameras to hackers. So you can breathe easy.

If you already have a camera set up or don’t intend to use our software, then 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.

change passwords

Pic courtesy of venturebeat.com

Take action: Change the default password of your camera

1: Find the local IP address of the internet network you’re using. If you already have cameras set up with Cammy, you can open the app and click on camera settings and choose “manually setup” to discover your local IP address.

2: Once you have your IP address, enter this into the address bar in your web browser, then log in using the credentials provided by your camera (check your camera’s user guide). The standard username for most cameras is “admin”, while the password may vary (e.g. “admin”, no password, “12345”, etc).

3: Once logged in you can adjust the settings and change the default password.

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. Some people choose to set up port forwarding for devices such as an XBox 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.

router password

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.

Quick Review

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.

  1. Secure your internet network
  2. Password protect your cameras
  3. Avoid port forwarding to your IP camera
  4. Change the default password of your router
  5. Update your camera with the latest firmware (if your current firmware has a flaw)

Got questions about IP camera hacking? Please comment below

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