Security cameras are among the first lines of defense in protecting your home from criminals. They can notify you of suspicious activity even when you’re far away. You can keep an eye out for package deliveries and check up on your house while you’re at work.
What would you say about a collective network of cameras that share each other’s bandwidth to work together, potentially increasing security in the area? It may sound like a good idea but what if somebody with bad intentions accessed just one of those cameras? Not a good scenario. This is how Amazon’s Sidewalk network functions and it’s something you may want to avoid. Tap or click here to see how to opt out.
Even a private security network can be hacked. That’s not to say you should take down your cameras, however. There are steps you can take to protect the devices that protect you.
1. Use a trusted brand
When shopping for any electronic device, you balance budget and features. Does this model warrant its price over its lower-priced counterparts? Is this feature worth the extra money? But whether it’s a new phone or TV, sticking with a major brand will save you from headaches in the long run. You get better quality, customer service and security features where applicable.
A security camera should be no different. You have your choice of known brands such as Wyze, Ring, Google Nest, Arlo, Logitech and more. Do your research and get the best equipment within your budget. Aside from keeping tabs on your home and its surroundings, security cameras can do other things. Tap or click here for five more uses for security cameras.
Our sponsor SimpliSafe is a quick and easy home surveillance system that can be set up in minutes. Its wireless sensors stick onto walls, doors and windows without the need for drilling. The company also offers wireless cameras that use sensors to record movement in 4K and alert you as needed. Visit SimplisafeKim.com and get a 60-day money-back guarantee, free shipping and free returns.
2. Always use strong passwords
There’s no excuse for using a weak password for your security network, Wi-Fi, smart devices or anything else. Most major browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge etc.) come with built-in password managers that generate and store unique passwords for you.
You can also use third-party password managers, many of which are free. Narrow your choices down to managers that use 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication at the very least.
Another option is to use an online password generator like passwordsgenerator.net. This site lets you create a password with your preferences and offers options you may have never used before to make it even stronger. Tap or click for more details on this free password-generating site.
3. Use 2FA when available
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an extra layer of security when you log in to an account, including your security network. In addition to entering your name and password, you must also provide another form of identification. This can be something only you have access to, such as a smartphone. 2FA can even rely on who you are, such as a fingerprint or facial scan.
A common form of 2FA is a PIN sent to your phone as a text message. This is better than having no extra protection at all, but your phone can be hacked, giving others access to your codes. Tap or click here to learn how to set up 2FA on these six popular accounts.
Authenticator apps are more secure, as they generate one-time passcodes every 30 seconds. You have a very short time to use the code, after which it will be invalid. Since the code comes from an app, you don’t need to provide your phone number to a site to get a code. The app itself is also unique to your phone.
4. Running the latest firmware and security updates
Just as you do with your browser and smart devices, keeping your security cameras updated will reduce their chances of being hacked.
Developers at major companies push out regular updates that improve features and usability but more importantly, beef up their products’ security. While automatic updates are sometimes turned on by default, you can do regular checks yourself to make sure you are up to date and protected.
You can check up on your software version through your device’s app. For Wyze systems, for example, open the app and go to Account > Firmware Update. Here you can see if you have the newest software for each device. If not, there’s an Upgrade All option at the bottom.
5. Router settings
Your router settings affect everything connected to your Wi-Fi, including your security cameras. Here are some helpful tips:
- You want to make sure to keep your router updated just as you would any device in your home.
- A good router should have strong encryption. The old standard is Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). Newer devices use the superior WPA3, which you can read about here.
- A built-in firewall is standard in most routers manufactured in the last decade. You can tweak settings to customize what data goes in and out of your router, but be careful, as you can make things worse. The default setting is good enough for most situations.
- Go into your router settings and disable remote access. It’s not worth leaving it on in case you need a tech to look through it. You’ll find this setting under Remote Administration in most cases.