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How Secure Are Home Security Cameras?

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home security, home security cameras, home defense, home invasion

You’ve probably heard that home security cameras are a great way to protect your home and family, but how effective are they really?

We all value our personal privacy . It’s a basic right. That’s why many of us are rightfully concerned when we see or hear of surveillance cameras going up in alarming numbers in public locations. We have to ask, “Is this for our safety or for the government to spy on us?”

Unfortunately, many of us may be unknowingly contributing to our own invasion of privacy. The use of security cameras in homes and private businesses has increased substantially in the past decade. Security cameras are affordable and they offer us the convenience of monitoring our homes from any location offering an Internet connection, whether it’s from the next room or across the country. But at the same time, if not set up properly, security cameras make it easy for others to keep an eye on our families and belongings as well.

How Secure Are Home Security Cameras?

Recently a Russian website started streaming live feeds of home security cameras and baby monitors from around the world. It included footage from more than 73,000 security camera locations in over 250 countries and included live video of bedrooms, kitchens, office buildings, even baby cribs. Your first reaction is to wonder what kind of creep would hack into so many lives and display them for the world to see.

But it’s not a hack. They simply gained access using the default usernames and passwords that came with the cameras.

The Russian site broke down the video footage by the manufacturers which included Foscam, Linksys, AvTech, Panasonic, and others. The site, which has recently been taken down, claims its purpose was “to show the importance of security settings.” That it did. The site makes the point that choosing not to change the default passwords essentially gives others a free ticket to a peep show inside your home.

Many of the video feeds showed businesses, shops, and office buildings. Yet it was disturbing how many shots of baby cribs were available on the site. Other feeds showed a woman sitting in her living room and another showed a woman sitting on the floor playing with a baby. Another was of a child playing.

The site easily amassed such a huge amount of footage because too many camera users simply use the default passwords that get the camera working, some as simple as “1234.” Many of these default passwords are provided by the manufacturers on their websites. Experts have but one bit of advice, if you have a webcam, baby monitor or home security camera, change your password now. It’s that easy.

The biggest selling point of these security cameras is also their biggest security weakness. The ability to gain remote footage over the internet is a big reason for having these cameras, but at the same time, if not set up properly, anyone and everyone else can gain access as well. The Russian website made this point clear.

How Can I Safely Use Home Security Cameras?

The message is clear. Make use of the safeguards available to you. With anything you want to keep private online, make sure you use strong passwords. Also never assume that the Internet is such a large place that your mistakes will go unnoticed. We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to keep our private lives private. So don’t be lazy about it.


Check out these related articles:

DIY Home Security Tips

DIY Remote Controlled Home Security Camera

20 Home Security and Crime Prevention Secrets

Want to increase your home security and protect your family from intruders? Check out these great products:

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Richard

    February 5, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    I have been shopping for a camera system myself, recently, after some kids tore up our Christmas lights one night.
    But I know that the wireless cameras are most likely unencrypted, and a person could sit in a car outside your house, and snoop on the wireless images your cameras are broadcasting. This gives the criminal a look inside your house, before he robs it.
    So, I’m going with cabled cameras. Not the old cables… Network cables. They will provide both the power and the connection needed.
    Look for cameras with PoE (Power over Ethernet) designation. You will most likely need to purchase a PoE Switch to plug all the cameras in to, but it will be worth the investment, as all your cameras will otherwise need a power plug near the camera, and most of us don’t have that.

    • obsidian

      February 5, 2015 at 12:24 PM

      They sell fake camera’s that even have lens and red lights for show.

  2. tom joy

    February 5, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    Let’s not be negative on security cameras for home use. I have had mine for 10 years and it has prevented several breakins at my home by intruders as I am a licenced concealed weapons carrier. Twice I was close by when my cell phone warned me of an intruder. Both times they were held for the cops. Unfortunately the third break in suspect won’t EVER break into any more homes.

    You failed to mention how many computers that when left ON that have video cameras on them also can be seen by thieves.

  3. Linda Price

    February 5, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Take me off your email list. I have searched for 10 minutes to find the “unsubscribe” and can’t. Just do it, please.

    • The Dude

      February 5, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      Go to the bottom of the email, Click on “Manage Subscriptions”, On the page that opens there is an unsubscribe option. Simple.

  4. obsidian

    February 5, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    I’ve seen murderer’s look brazenly into a camera both before and after a murder.
    Out of stupidity or just not giving a damn they would look long and hard right into the security camera lens.
    After the fact they may be useful for prosecution but before and during?
    I’d rather have a .357 magnum.

    • TrpodXL

      February 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM

      @ob; That wasn’t the point. Cameras, or eyeballs for that matter, don’t do anything before the fact. AND neither do handguns. Handguns, like cameras and eyeballs, only do something AT or AFTER the fact. As far as having the cameras, you’re not suggesting that having a camera to KNOW that you’re having a breakin, while you’re away form home, is a bad idea, are you?

  5. nelson w. wilkins

    February 5, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    I have a system set up but the pic. is not the best . I have a wide angle for front and back yards, which I payed 150.00 each,speco/ciltootw6wwide angle.

  6. Marc de Piolenc

    February 5, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    Well, duh. Your security cameras need to be cabled, not wireless, and if there’s any wireless option it needs to be disabled. And you need to do more than just password-protect the Internet interface.

  7. Jerry Y.

    February 6, 2015 at 3:25 AM

    I use mine for outside only, I can monitor, record and check what is going on from home or anywhere I go after having someone smash the motion lights outside I installed cameras, I would not use them on the inside of my home.

  8. tom joy

    February 6, 2015 at 10:03 AM

    Most major cities have security cameras that they claim are for public safety as well as most businesses for security. Everywhere you go you are being watched by hackers. Our community watches out for each others property and home video systems give you the the added comfort that you get an instant notification of a break in and within seconds you can notify your neighbors .

    I will keep my security cameras just as they are, Thank you.

  9. Oath

    February 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    I do not know where all locations are, nor how many people can access them, but, go search for Harbor Freight on the net. I found very nice color, w/sound cabled camera security system with a monitor for about $70.00 shipping and all. Never had to leave my house. The monitor is very small, but, buy a RCA to coax cable and hook up direct to an unused TV. I made the connection by running thru an old VCR machine, connecting the small monitor RCA cables to the VCR, and then hooking it to the TV. Works perfectly, they pick up sound, and have a sort of infra-red capability, where even in pitch black darkness at night, screen looks like there is a light on. See perfectly. Two cameras, 2 55′ cables, and small monitor. There is no way I could afford a decent system due to limited $$, but, I was delighted to find that this system works plenty well enough for me to monitor my back yard and my front door, front yard and drive way with good placement of camera. You cannot go wrong. But, please everyone, leave at least on set for me, because I want to buy 1 more to monitor the other side of my yard and behind my garage. 😉

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