How many times have you thought about your social media accounts getting hacked and a stranger gaining access to all your information? Quite a lot of times, we believe. But don’t worry, you are not alone.
With the advent of the internet, the world has become a more connected and easily accessible place. With that, it has also opened up opportunities for burglars to not just target you physically but also digitally.
Cybercrime has risen considerably with 46% of businesses and 26% of charities in the UK having reported security breaches in the past year.
Most of the time, the devices that are made for our security, such as CCTV cameras, can be used against us. How? Through hacking, of course.
Though the chances are pretty slim, they are undoubtedly there. Read on to find out how CCTV cameras can be hacked and what you can do to prevent it from happening:
HOW CAN CCTV CAMERAS BE HACKED?
CCTV cameras are one of the best deterrents against burglaries and intrusions with law enforcement agencies encouraging their use in both residential and commercial properties.
They do not just keep criminals away from your property from the fear of getting recorded, but they also provide visual evidence to catch the perpetrators. In addition to that, the recorded footage can also be used in the court of law as legitimate proof.
CCTV cameras are a great tool for protecting you and your property, but they are also vulnerable to hacking and used for spying on you through the internet.
But don’t get scared. That happens only when you’re not careful about using the right equipment and aren’t taking the required steps to guard your privacy.
There are very simple ways to prevent such attacks from happening that we’ll discuss in a while. But first, you must understand how CCTV cameras are hacked in the first place.
Just as burglars are opportunists looking for loopholes in your security, such as an unlocked door or window, hackers work on the same principle and find vulnerabilities in your system to breach your privacy. They are tech-savvy individuals who know their way around the internet and its related devices.
Hacking is usually done through remote attacks that can be done from anywhere in the world – the hackers don’t have to be physically near the systems to hack into them.
Once they make their way into the system, they have access to all your files and the system components. They can view, delete, steal, or alter the live and recorded footage, launch viruses, and basically have full control of the system.
Some of the ways that CCTV cameras can be hacked are by:
- Brute force – where the hackers use automated software to make repeated guesses at your passwords,
- Spoofing attack – where they connect to your network by disguising as a trusted device, and
- Backdoor attacks – where they search for vulnerabilities in compromised systems.
WHY ARE CCTV CAMERAS HACKED?
Not all hackers are bad. That sounds like something very hard to believe, but it’s true. The good guys, also known as white hat hackers, are professionals hired to hack into systems to gauge their privacy strengths and weaknesses.
When vulnerabilities are found, they inform the manufacturers to rectify the errors and make the necessary correction to strengthen the security of the system.
So basically, what white hat hackers do is find vulnerabilities and fix them so that the bad guys, the black hat hackers, can’t exploit them when the CCTV systems are used by home and business owners.
The black hat hackers are who you need to protect your CCTV cameras from since their intentions are always malicious.
One of the main reasons why CCTV cameras are hacked is to access sensitive data. A hacked camera placed inside a house or office setting is like having a criminal sitting right beside you, hearing over all your important, and at times, confidential conversations and getting a clear understanding of the layout of the property if breaking-in is what they want.
If you’ve seen any heist movie, you would know that hackers get inside the system to enable and disable it at will, while also altering the live footage to hide what they’re doing from people monitoring the systems. Real hackers do that too.
HOW TO PREVENT CCTV CAMERAS FROM BEING HACKED?
How can you know if your CCTV cameras have been hacked? As scary as that may sound, it is almost impossible to know and to a regular and untrained person, it might even go unnoticed.
One possible sign of a malicious attack is if the system is performing slower than usual. When hacked, the system needs to work extra hard which might result in the camera slowing down or becoming unusable.
Then again, this could also be attributed to a poor connection or signal, and not just a malicious attack, making it a rather poor and ineffective indicator of an attack.
That being said, it is very important to prevent such attacks from happening in the first place. You must:
Install only state-of-the-art equipment
You might think it is a good idea to invest in cheap knock-off CCTV cameras that you can easily get at a quarter of the price. Well, it’s not.
The money that you would save on the equipment, you would risk much more by installing a vulnerable system that is in a compromised state, to begin with.
Always purchase your CCTV cameras from a trusted source and have them installed by a certified and experienced professional security company that can advise you on the best type of cameras for your property.
Secure your wireless connection
To protect your Wi-Fi-connected CCTV cameras from being hacked, it is rather obvious to secure the Wi-Fi connection as well.
How you can do that include giving your router a strong password and regularly changing it, using encryption, and turning off guest networking and sharing. You may also install a firewall between your devices and the internet connection to maximise protection.
Use stronger passwords
Living in the 21st century with all the technological advancements, you must surely be aware of the importance of a strong password.
What comes as a shock is that most people use the default username and password that the system came with. These are fairly easy to guess and are usually admin and 1234.
When setting up your camera, be sure to choose strong passwords since they are your best defence against hackers. Use something long and complex with a combination of numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters.
Don’t include names, birthdays, and other personal information that the hackers can easily get off of your social media accounts.
Set up two-factor authentication
If your CCTV camera supports this feature, set it up to add an extra layer to your security. What two-factor authentication does is that when you log into your app account, in addition to asking for your username and password, the system sends a one-time password (OTP) to your phone via text, email, phone call, or authenticator app that you then enter into the app to log in.
This verifies your identity and makes sure that it’s you and not someone else trying to log into your account. Two-factor authentication is a very useful feature and must be activated on all your emails and social media accounts as well. If you haven’t enabled it yet, do it right away!
Update your camera’s firmware
The manufacturers of the CCTV system will periodically send out updates that fix software bugs and other vulnerabilities. These updates help the system work more efficiently and protect the camera and your security from being compromised.
Some systems automatically download updates as soon as they are rolled out, while others require you to manually update them. Whichever the case, if you are serious about keeping your private life private, always keep your systems up-to-date.
ADVANTAGES OF CCTV CAMERAS
The thought of being hacked and your security being compromised is a terrifying one for sure. But the truth is that in this day and age, you can’t eliminate the possibility of it happening entirely.
Come to think of it, most of your data is online now and susceptible to being hacked. What keeps it safe from the wrong hands is you taking the right security and privacy measures.
The same goes for CCTV cameras. Just be super careful with how you use them and enjoy their benefits. Here are all the reasons why you must have CCTV cameras installed on your property:
CCTV cameras help keep your property protected from all kinds of criminals including burglars, intruders, and vandals since the systems play against their biggest ally; stealth. They actively stay away from properties with CCTV monitoring for the fear of being recorded and getting caught.
Business owners can use it to not just avoid external threats from outside the premises, but also for internal threats that constitute theft and damage done by disgruntled employees.
Even if an intruder breaks into your property, the recorded footage can be used to identify, catch, and punish them, hopefully also recovering all the looted goods.
Installing CCTV cameras both inside and outside a property is encouraged by the law since it helps the police do their job better. However, special care must be taken for the installations to comply with the CCTV laws and regulations.
CCTV cameras offer more than just the protection of your property. They also allow you to monitor and check in on your property and its occupants while you’re away.
Homeowners can use it to keep a check on family members, pets, and the house in general, while business owners can use it to monitor their employees (they must be informed about it, though).
Reduced insurance premiums
Most insurers encourage the idea and offer discounts and reduced premiums to people who have CCTV cameras installed on their property since it greatly reduces the chances of it becoming a target for a crime. The less likely you are to be burgled, the less likely you are to make a claim.
The discounts and offers might vary between insurers, and for most, to qualify for a discount or even make a claim, the owners must not just have a CCTV security system installed but also have it properly maintained to ensure its effectiveness.
Law enforcement assistance
Law enforcement agencies around the world have benefitted greatly through CCTV cameras. As mentioned above, they help gather evidence against crimes and catch the perpetrators.
By installing outdoor CCTV systems, with cameras recording outside footage, you can play your part in helping the police solve crimes. For instance, if a nearby establishment gets burgled, you can give the police access to your CCTV footage recording the nearby area to identify the criminals.
BEST CCTV CAMERAS
Our top pick for the best brand of CCTV cameras for home and business security is Hikvision. It protects properties from all types of threats including burglary, theft, vandalism, and hacking.
Hikvision is one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers providing a comprehensive solution for home and business security offering both analogue and IP systems.
Their Turbo HD products offer a simple, easy-to-install, and cost-effective analogue solution with ColorVu and AcuSense technology, along with some great features such as dual detection and multi-device notifications.
They provide a variety of systems including dome, half-dome, fixed, bullet, integrated cameras, etc., all designed with cutting-edge infrared supplementary lighting technology, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The IP products, on the other hand, provide a higher resolution and better video quality, along with a lot of advanced features including Artificial Intelligence. Their systems include PTZ dome cameras, panoramic cameras, and cameras for special applications.
CALDER SECURITY CCTV SERVICES
At Calder Security, we offer a comprehensive range of CCTV services ranging from professional installation to monitoring, maintenance and repairs.
We are expert SSAIB-approved security system installers and supply only high-quality CCTV equipment from trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.
We supply both analogue HD and IP systems as well as advise you on which system would be most appropriate for your property.
We don’t just install your CCTV system and leave, but also provide full training on the equipment making sure our customers are comfortable with it and know how to use it properly.
Our CCTV monitoring services ensure that your property is being watched over by professional monitoring staff when it is unoccupied or most vulnerable.
The real advantage of detecting a break-in while it is in progress is the action that can be taken to deal with it such as notifying your keyholders or alerting the police.
We use only Trusted Remote Video Receiving Centres (RVRC) and offer peace of mind that any incident detected would prompt an appropriate response.
Annual servicing is vital to keeping your CCTV system in good working order. Even if it seems that the system is running fine, the checks and measures involved in a service help with the early detection of any potential issues.
During a service, we undertake a visual assessment of all equipment, check connections and cabling, clean the cameras, lenses and housing, assess playback and recording quality, and test remote signalling (if applicable).
Even well-maintained CCTV systems can develop faults such as loose connections, cameras failing, the system not recording, playback not working, or poor-quality images.
If your system fails to record properly, loses clarity of picture, experiences drop out, won’t playback, or faces any other issue, our experienced engineers can diagnose and repair any faults quickly and with minimal disruption.
Contact us right away for a quick consultation with our leading experts to make your property safe with state-of-the-art CCTV cameras that protect you in every way!