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Using IP Cameras Safely
Apr 17, 2017

Network or internet cameras usually marketed as IP cameras are popular for keeping an eye on your property, your family, and your pets. These cameras provide live video and audio feeds that you can access remotely using an internet browser. But many IP cameras on the market are vulnerable to digital snooping, making security features key when you shop for and use these devices.

 

An internet protocol (IP) camera lets you monitor your home or business using software that connects it directly to the internet. Unlike a webcam, it doesnt need a computer to transmit video online. But if the IP camera you buy doesnt encrypt the information it sends, other people could access and view your feed. Put simply, you could be hosting the worlds biggest open house! When youre shopping for an IP camera, youll want to put security features at the top of your list of priorities.  

Secure Internet Transmission

If you access your cameras video feed remotely, your camera will send information beyond your home wireless router via the internet. Not all cameras provide the same levels of security for this. Look for one that encrypts your information, including your user name, your password, and the live feeds. Check the label on the box or read online, or contact the manufacturer directly to see if the camera uses SSL/TLS, or some other industry standard, to protect your information in transit. If your camera uses SSL/TLS to protect your login credentials, the URL for the cameras login page should begin with https (the sis for secure).

Keep the software up-to-date. 

The software that comes with your camera needs occasional updates. Register your camera or sign up to get updates to keep the software current. Before you install your new camera, visit the manufacturers website to see if theres a new version of the software available for download. And after youve installed the camera, download the updates as soon as you get notice.

Check your cameras password settings. 

Some IP cameras allow you to turn off the cameras password requirement. But unless you want to share the feeds from your camera publicly, dont do it. Set up your IP camera to require a password. Check the cameras user guide for directions.   

Use a strong password.

Enable your cameras security features.

If you bought a camera that encrypts data transmitted via the internet, turn this feature on. The log in page for your camera should have a URL that begins with https. If it doesnt, the username and password you enter wont be encrypted, and other people may be able to access them. Once youve logged in to your cameras webpage, the URL still should indicate https. If it doesnt, your feed isnt encrypted, and other people may be able to view it. 

Use a secure Wi-Fi connection. 

A cameras mobile app might not provide the same level of security as its website. So, even if your camera uses https on its website, that doesnt guarantee that the cameras mobile app will use encryption, too.

If the mobile app doesnt encrypt your information, and you use the mobile app on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, troublemakers could intercept your video feed or your password. To protect your privacy, resist using the mobile app from a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Instead, use your phones internet browser and go to your cameras login page. Look for https at the beginning of the URL so you know your information is encrypted.

Its also a good idea to change the settings on your mobile device so that it doesnt automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi.

 

 

 

Key words:  IP cameras, Security camera, Wifi.

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