I’ve reported on this blog that many computer viruses originate in Russia, and it’s been recently reported in some news sources that a Russian website was showing hacked footage from home and other security webcams.
The website showed lists of countries, with the number of webcam videos available from each.
Some of the popular home security systems that have monthly monitoring (ADT, Vivint, etc.) could possibly be hacked by someone using a SDR (software-defined radio), even if the system is unarmed. Someone who was tech savy could jam the system or interfere with the signals. Especially if the system used unencrypted communication signals, the culprit could send his/her own signals to the main controls. But he/she would have to be about 250 feet away or less from your house to do this.
Most hackers are getting access through webcams (rather then the wall mounted cameras used by the home monitoring companies mentioned above), that are built into almost all laptops, and hooked up to many desktop computers.
You commonly may be bringing your laptop with you to many private places, including inside a motel room, bedroom, etc. So the criminals could be spying on you there.
Once an intruder has camera access, they can monitor all your daily activities, when people are coming and going, etc.
There is said to be lot’s of information on the internet, and YouTube videos, on “how to hack into webcams”.
The Russian website mentioned above was probably using one of the most common hacking methods, which is to change the default passwords that come with wireless devices and routers. Once they change your password, they’ve locked you out of your own device, and can log in, change your WiFi signal, and control your webcam.
The default passwords are usually easy to guess and won’t lock out after several incorrect guesses. So change your passwords to long ones that are hard to guess.
Another very common method hackers use is email links. They use Trojan Horse attacks to infect your computer with malware. This malware allows the hacker to remotely control your computer, including the webcam.
The best way to prevent this is to NOT click on ANY links in emails. Whether it’s an attachment or link that appears to come from a friend, your bank, free music download, etc., I would not click on ANY link in any email.
More Tips to Avoid Security Camera Hacking:
- Ask your home security system rep what measures they are taking to make sure their cameras and network are not being hacked into.
- Make sure you have anti-virus software.
- Make sure your firewall is turned on.
- Set your security settings at a high level.
- Make sure your wireless connection and all security cameras have secure, unique passwords.
- Put a cover over your webcam when not using it, and/or unplug it from the USB port.
- Don’t put a laptop computer with a webcam in a bedroom.
- Be careful who you communicate with online, and what personal information you give out in emails.
- Be cautious about any computer repair people you allow to work on your computer.
- Don’t buy security cameras from strangers.
- Don’t buy used security cameras.