Security cameras are a vital asset for ensuring the safety of your home, property, and loved ones. In our modern era, we now have the incredible privilege of interconnecting devices and easily accessing security cameras via mobile devices and computers by wireless means. While this is an obvious blessing (e.g. ensuring the safety of your loved ones and property in other rooms, or for quickly accessing footage while away), it does have downsides; in the not so recent past, hackers have been caught streaming webcam footage of hospitals and baby monitors. In addition, it was discovered that the NSA often shared photos from their intercepted communications. Despite these downsides, as explained below, scenarios like the above can be mitigated by following simple security strategies.
Because wireless cameras are, well, wireless, when purchasing and operating one, you run the risk of experiencing the same basic security issues that occur with computers or network security systems (like the hacking mentioned above). So, what is one to do?
FOLLOW THE GOLDEN RULE OF COMPUTER SECURITY
...STRONG PASSWORDS. Whenever you setup to operate a wireless security camera system, you should ensure that the you use strong passwords that combine alpha-numeric characters, bold caps, numbers, etc. Additionally, an encrypted wireless protocol would also be highly recommended (WPA2 being the most common, for example).
OPERATE THE CAMERA ON A VPN
Strong passwords are obvious, but VPN is the real key, the kevlar of your bulletproof gear if you will... VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. VPNs are a set of encryption tunnel technologies developed to protect network communications and information transfer between users. A VPN gives you remote access to servers. This can be used for work; employees remotely working from home but accessing work computers/servers. But VPNs do much more, they can act as a vital security technology.
When you operate on a VPN, an encrypted tunnel is established between you and a remote server/computer. VPNs encrypt your data and provide security during trafficking. If the connection for some reason is compromised (which isn’t easy!), the hacker only sees encrypted signals. Furthermore, even if this did happen, tunnels are re-routed so that the hacker has to try again.
VPN PROVIDERS & OPTIONS
There are plenty of VPN providers on the market, and they are very affordable and well worth the investment. My favorite (and the one I recommend) is Private Internet Access. It is as simple as purchasing and downloading on your computer. To operate, before connecting to the internet, you can choose to connect to any one of their multiple remote IP addresses which establishes a secure tunnel. For other options, I highly recommend these two articles from PC Mag and LifeHacker which compare the best VPNs for 2016.
Yours in Security,