WiFi (IP) home security cameras are no different to any other piece of wireless equipment when it comes to security vulnerabilities. All the same, hackers, in general, prefer to break into systems that are unsecured and easy to take control of. If you're reading here and want to know how to prevent IP camera hacking, the short answer is you can't. What you can do, though, is make it much less likely by taking a few sensible security precautions. The rest of this article will walk you through how to secure your WiFi enabled home camera or camera systems.

Why It's So Important to Protect Your Home Security System from Being Hacked

You might think there's not much to see for anyone prying into an empty home through the lens of your security cameras, but think on. Over time they can get into your system from a remote location and monitor the movements of the inhabitants. For example:

  • The time the last person leaves the house in the morning (on average)
  • The time the first person arrives home in the afternoon or evening (on average)
  • Whether there is anything in the home worth stealing

Other Uses for Wireless IP Cameras

If your cameras have Pan/Tilt/Zoom capability, the hacker gets to have a good snoop around your home while everyone is out. On a more sinister level, the weirdoes in society can hack into your home security network and spy on the residents. See, a lot of folks don't only use these cameras for security purposes. Parents use them to keep an eye on the kids, or as a baby monitor. Pet owners use them to check in on their animals periodically. And people also use them to keep an eye on elderly relatives who are home alone. Whatever you see through the camera's lens a hacker can see too. This is why it's so important to prevent hackers from hijacking your surveillance cameras.

The four areas you need to be mindful of are:

  1. Securing your home network
  2. Avoid using public WiFi networks or use a VPN
  3. Secure or avoid using live streaming
  4. Create super strong passwords
  5. Keep your system updated

#1 It All Begins with Home Network Security

Your home network must be secure. This is something most people don't even give a thought to when they set their camera up out of the box. In this case, you need to protect the security between the router and the camera. The router is that small box that allows multiple devices to join your home network. Here's what you need to know: make sure your router's configuration uses something called WPA2-based encryption. If in doubt, ask someone to check it for you. When you have WPA2-based encryption, you have secured things as best you can between your camera and the router.

#2 Avoid Unsecured Wireless Networks

Most of us use them but when it comes to "live viewing" I suggest you avoid Logging in from these open wireless networks. They're handy, and often free, but don't be tempted unless you use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. Without getting too technical, a VPN is a kind of network service which makes your connection secure over public or private networks. There are plenty of great articles online if you need to research VPNs. Without a VPN, you're inviting hackers to hack you in coffee shops and other free WiFi hot spots. They can then easily steal your login data without you knowing anything about it.

#3 Only Use the Live Stream Option when It's Safe

Live streaming is a great feature. But unless you're 100% sure the stream is secure, then don't use it until you have confirmed its security. If you don't need the live stream feature, just settle for the more secure closed network option.

#4 Always Use Strong Passwords

Most wireless security cameras out of the box come equipped with default passwords. These are usually something as simple as "admin". MAKE SURE YOU CHANGE THEM TO SOMETHING MUCH STRONGER. Be sure to password-protect each camera and anything else that needs password protection. More camera systems get hacked because of default or weak passwords than anything else. Use a strong password generator and password safe to create and store your complex passwords. KeyPass and DashLane are two great examples of free password managers.

#5 Be Careful Where You Point

Unfortunately, people's home security cameras get hacked without their knowledge. If, after reading here, you think you're vulnerable, reset your system. Make sure you have the right kind of encryption and change all passwords to something strong. Be careful where you point those cameras too. The last thing you want is prying eyes spying on someone in the bedroom. Position your cameras outside room doors, corridors and living rooms, etc.

#6 Keep Your System Updated

Be sure to install all system updates as and when they come out. This will be 'firmware' updates for cameras and 'software updates' for your devices (phones, computers, tablets, etc). Change your passwords periodically too.

This is your introduction into how to prevent IP camera hacking. If you need additional help, be sure to contact a security expert or the manufactures support department for more details.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Bickmore has researched, implemented and is using a range of security measures to protect his home from intruders and now wants to share his knowledge and experience with like minded people.

To learn more about home security cameras visit http://burglarfreezone.com and click on the category link "Security Cameras" at the top of the page.