It seemed to happen without anyone noticing, but Wi-Fi cameras are popping up everywhere. In many cases, this includes our homes. Outdoor security cameras are common, but in some homes you’ll find them inside as well. They can be handy, but how secure are they?
It’s handy being able to see inside your home when you’re not there, but what if someone else can see what’s going on inside your home? It may not be pleasant to think about, but it’s something worth considering if you’re shopping for wireless cameras.
Are Wi-Fi Cameras Secure in 2019?
Wireless security in general has come a long way since Wi-Fi was first introduced. This applies to Wi-Fi cameras as well, which have added numerous security features and made configuration easier. This is especially true with the better cameras on the market.
Wi-Fi cameras are more secure than they’ve ever been, but with something with so many potential privacy-related implications, it can’t hurt to be careful.
How Wi-Fi Cameras Are at Risk
Any device with an Internet connection is potentially at risk, as incoming connections can come from anywhere, not just you. In the case of IoT devices like Wi-Fi cameras, there’s an extra layer of risk.
The SHODAN search engine was created specifically to show IoT devices with known vulnerabilities. This means that these devices have open ports and can potentially be compromised by hackers. Just because a device shows up here, it isn’t a given that it’s a hack, but be aware that people are looking at these devices with malicious intent.
How to Choose a Secure Wi-Fi Camera
There are standard Wi-Fi cameras, then there are smart cameras. While tacking the word “smart” onto a product can simply be a trick to charge more, in this case it’s a good sign. A smart camera is easier to configure and is less reliant on you, the user, making sure it’s secure.
Another feature to look for in a Wi-Fi camera is two-factor authentication. This means that it can’t be accessed with just your password. In general, you should use two-factor authentication everywhere you can, and a Wi-Fi camera is no exception.
Cameras to Avoid
If a camera is super cheap, it can be tough to resist the urge to buy it, but this could be a red flag. A super-low price tag means that they could be using older hardware or software, and this could be more likely to have vulnerabilities that hackers or malware are aware of.
On a similar note, try to avoid brands with names you don’t recognize. That doesn’t mean to only buy the most expensive Wi-Fi cameras you can find, but a cheap camera with a name you’ve never heard of could be a bad buy.
Keep Your Wi-Fi Camera Secure
Once you’ve got a camera you’re fairly sure you can trust, make sure it stays that way. One simple tip is to use the same security practices you would with your computer. Use strong passwords and change them regularly. Do not to use a password you use anywhere else, as this will make you vulnerable if the password is leaked elsewhere.
Also, make sure to keep your Wi-Fi cameras up to date. Buying a smart model will help to keep it updated, but check on them once in a while. Keeping an eye on the company’s website in case of security vulnerabilities is also a good idea.
Despite what you do to stay secure, every device with an Internet connection has some amount of risk. If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea that a camera could be hacked, you may not want to use them at all. That said, there are also different use cases. Someone who absolutely doesn’t want a camera inside their home may be comfortable with one pointed at their front yard.
Security isn’t just for Wi-Fi cameras either. If another IoT device in your home is compromised, it may give attackers an advantage when it comes to hacking your other devices. To do what you can to keep this from happening, be sure to take a look at our guide showing you how to properly secure an IoT device.