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Guide to buying a home security camera that ensures privacy

Guide to buying a home security camera that ensures privacy
Whether it is a home IP camera or a baby monitor, they all come with risks to our privacy that cannot be avoided. Follow these steps while purchasing and installing a home security camera.
Smart home technologies are designed to make life easier and more convenient. Recent issues like COVID-19 has boosted demand for smart home systems as more and more people stay at home. However, new conveniences also mean new problems. Whether it is a home IP camera or a baby monitor, they all come with risks to our privacy that cannot be avoided. However, we can follow these simple steps while purchasing and installing a home security camera.

Research vulnerabilities

Before buying a device, search the Internet for news of any vulnerabilities within that device. According to Vitaly Kamluk, Director for Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) for APAC at Kaspersky, the IoT is a hot topic, and a lot of researchers are doing a great job of finding security issues in products of this kind. Security researchers may have already examined the device you are going to purchase, and it is possible to find out whether the issues found in the device have been patched. 

Joe Tham, Co-founder of Simshine Intelligent Technology, added that before buying a security camera, you could download their APP and read their privacy policy. Learn about what personal data the company will collect and how they are going to use that data. The way that the company treats your data should be compliant with GDPR.

"The company should use common AES encryption to protect the user's password and video stream," Tham said. "If a user wants to go for advanced AI features such as person detection or facial recognition, it is recommended that users choose an on-device processing security camera. Companies that make cloud-processing cameras tend to use users' photos and videos to train their AI intelligence. Users should have the option to save the video on the device instead of uploading everything to the cloud server."

Avoid the "just-launched" products

It is not always a great idea to buy the most recent products released on the market, according to Kamluk. Along with the standard bugs you get in new products, recently-launched devices might contain security issues that haven't yet been discovered by security researchers. The best advice here is buying products that have already experienced several software updates.

Reconsider internet access

Kamluk added that when choosing a device that will collect information about your personal life and the lives of your family, like a home security camera, it may be wise to select the simplest RF-model on the market. Such a device will only transmit an audio signal without Internet connectivity.

Know the device you own

Learn as much as you can about the devices you already own to reduce the risk of attack. Several tools are available online to help you do this. Kaspersky, for instance, has released an app called Kaspersky IoT Scanner— a free smart-gadget protection solution. It will check your Wi-Fi network and tell you whether the devices connected to it are safe or not.

Final word

Martin Hron, Senior Security Researcher at Avast Software, adds that it's essential to choose a reputable vendor to ensure the privacy of your data. The second and maybe the most important thing to do is to properly set up the device, not leaving default configuration and default password. To keep any IoT device in default configuration with a factory-set password is the most common cause of breaches into the devices.

"Most cameras nowadays are equipped with cloud functionality, which could be another attack surface as recordings and your private data leaving the perimeter of your home and are being stored on third-party servers," Hron said. "In this case, it's more than essential to choose a brand that is known to run on a secure cloud infrastructure. If you are not sure about the cloud security or you have some doubts, look for cameras where the cloud functionality is optional and can be turned off if need be."
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