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Working from home? Ensure your smart home cameras are not hacked

Working from home? Ensure your smart home cameras are not hacked
As the COVID-19 lockdowns began in many countries, companies had to allow their employees to work from home. Many have decided to continue the policy of remote working even after the threat of the pandemic subsides. From a financial and convenience stand-point, it works well, but cybersecurity continues to remain a major pain point.

But most discussions around cybersecurity concerns while working from home revolve around the computers that employees use. An often-ignored part is that many houses now have IP-based smart home cameras that hackers can access if not protected well. This is scary as hackers can have access to footage of your home. But even more terrifying is that it does not stop there. As all devices tend to be connected these days, a hacked IP camera is a doorway to other devices.

Many consumers search for unhackable security cameras. Unfortunately, there may not be anything that is entirely secure. But fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make sure that the IP cameras of your smart home remain as “unhackable” as possible. And this begins with the router.  

Dealing with a router vulnerability

Securing your camera should begin with the router. Several reports indicate that many routers in the market are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Data from a study by Consumer Reports last year showed that only a few models of routers did well in privacy, security, and performance.

The best part is that you can secure your router with some simple steps. First, if you are planning to purchase a new router, consider WPA3 encryption. Until recently, WPA2 was the standard recommendation for proper protection, but WPA3 is naturally more advanced. Under no circumstances should you use the WEP option.

Another vital step to take is updating the firmware. As hackers continue to find new vulnerabilities in devices, manufacturers release patches to secure the device. A router with an “automatic firmware upgrade” option is probably the best for this.

Turning off unwanted features in a router would also help in securing it. Features like Remote Administration or Remote Management and Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) may be turned on by default, but you may not be using it. These could help hackers gain access to your system. So, unless you are using devices that need features like UPnP, turn it off.

Besides these, an obvious step that most people don’t take is changing the default password. Manufacturers have tried many ways to make people change the default password, but there are still devices that are not secure just because their password is that one that was set in the factory.

Protecting against IP camera vulnerabilities

The increased affordability and ease of installation have prompted many people to purchase smart home cameras. However, this ease extends to potential hackers as well because some of the most easy-to-install products are easy to break into as well.

Some of the steps to protect IP-based smart home security cameras may sound similar to those meant to secure a router. For instance, changing the default password is essential to protect a camera as well. Similarly, you need to keep the firmware of the camera up to date.

But the most critical step you can take is to purchase a camera that allows two-step authentication and use it. When you enable the two-step authentication feature, the system sends you a one-time password (OTP) to your phone or email. You will need to use this OTP along with your password to log in. So even if a hacker can crack your password, they won’t be able to access the camera without getting the OTP.

Bottomline

In short, there is no unhackable camera. There are only steps to make the camera as less vulnerable as possible. The best part is that most of these simple steps mentioned in this article will provide you reasonable protection. With them, you can be sure your data and privacy remain intact while working from home. 


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