Internet cameras let you monitor your home or business from afar, enabling you to check in on your kids, pets, property, and business. They’ve become increasingly popular among people who need to be in two or more places at once.
Being able to access a camera’s feed remotely means that the camera will be sending its video information via the Internet. Without the proper security measures, these Internet (or IP) cameras may be giving strangers a front row seat to your personal life. There are a variety of cameras available on the market that offer specialized “administrator” controls as well as different levels of access. It’s important to find an IP camera that provides flexibility and convenience without sacrificing privacy or security.
Here are some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ for Internet camera safety:
DO purchase a camera with an encryption feature – and be sure to activate it. This ensures your live feed can’t be accessed or viewed by others
DO make sure your camera supports the WPA2 wireless security protocol. This secures your video feed as it is transmitted to your home wireless router.
DO double-check that the camera’s login page web address begins with “https”. If you don’t see the “s” (which stands for “secure”), your video feed is likely not private.
DON’T turn off password protection on your camera. And don’t simply use the default username and password. Setting up a strong, unique password during installation can make a huge difference in the level of security your device maintains.
DON’T assume that the IP camera comes with the latest software. It may have been on the store’s shelf for a while. Treat it like mobile phone or computer software by regularly checking the manufacturer’s website for updates and installing them as soon as possible.
mobile devices like phones and tablets logged into your Internet camera account
for long periods of time. If your device is lost or stolen, anyone could view
your camera’s feed.
And one final tip regarding accessing the video feed remotely:
DO create a strong password for the mobile app that enables you to access your IP camera’s video feed with your smartphone or tablet. If your mobile device is not yet password-protected, set up a strong password on the device itself. And DO log out of the app each time you’re done using it. If your device is lost or stolen, the thief will not be able to access the app and gain a window into your personal life.
Resources for more Internet camera security basics:
- “Using IP Cameras Safely,” Federal Trade Commission. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0382-using-ip-cameras-safely
- “Peeping into 73,000 Unsecured Security Cameras Thanks to Default Passwords,” Network World (Nov. 6, 2014). http://www.networkworld.com/article/2844283/microsoft-subnet/peeping-into-73-000-unsecured-security-cameras-thanks-to-default-passwords.html