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How to ensure internet-connected cameras are secure

March 3rd 2020

Following a warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) circulated widely in today’s media, Get Safe Online would like to bring you some practical advice on internet-connected camera and baby monitor safety and security.

There have been a number of incidents recorded of cameras – used either for household or small business security or baby monitors – being hacked into. The results range from personal video footage being unlawfully viewed and sometimes streamed online, to the perpetrator speaking to a child via the camera’s built-in speaker.

This is certainly not a new occurrence. For example, in August 2013 we reported on a wireless video camera – described by its manufacturer as being an ideal baby monitor – being hacked into and the infant it was monitoring being shouted abuse at.

As more smart devices are being introduced and in everyday use in the home and office, similar risks apply. Security systems, smart speakers, connected appliances, children’s toys and many other products all require setting up and using carefully to ensure they do not compromise safety and security. More information and advice can be found here: https://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/your-connected-home/

Protect yourself and your family with these simple steps

-  Ensure that your Wi-Fi is secure: see our advice page on Wireless Networks & Hotspots.

-  For cameras for which you need a password (as well as your Wi-Fi password) to connect, replace factory-set passwords with secure ones you create yourself. Read our advice page on passwords.

-  Never use the same password for more than one connected device, nor share passwords with those you already use for other online accounts.

-  Check the apps associated with your cameras and install updates as soon as prompted. Also, regularly check manufacturers’ websites for updates, as they can be slow to push them out via the apps.

-  If you do not need to check cameras remotely, switch off the feature when you can.

-  Make sure that all your computers and mobile devices are fitted with updated internet security software / app, and also that access to these devices is protected with a PIN or passcode.

-  Consider that buying well-known, reputable brands of camera or connected baby monitor means that more care has probably been taken in securing the products – and your and your family’s security.