How To Stay Safe When Using IP Cameras

An IP camera is just a camera that connects directly to the internet, and is commonly used as a nanny or security camera. IP cameras can be used to protect your family, your home, your possessions, or your business – and without your knowledge, the camera’s live feed may be accessed and viewed by hundreds or even thousands of people. This is because most people only want to make use of an IP camera’s potential for access-anywhere convenience, without taking proper steps to secure the device. Unlike a regular webcam which has limited access, an IP camera with weak security may be open to as many viewers as your internet connection can allow. Read on for some steps you should take if you want to safely use an IP camera in your home or business. You can also see our IP camera recommendations here.

Before Purchasing an IP Camera

It is important to keep security in mind during the purchasing process. When looking at an IP camera, find out what security features they have. Here are some things you should look for, or ask about when shopping:

  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Encryption
  • User access control

Encryption:
Look for a camera that encrypts your information. Encryption will scramble your data between the IP camera and whatever device you choose to stream it to, ensuring that no malicious actors can see what’s going on. One way to check this is to see if the URL for the IP camera’s login page begins with https:// (the “s” means secure).

Secure Wireless Transmission:
If your IP camera supports wireless connections, ensure that the camera supports industry standard wireless security protocols, like WPA2. This will ensure that even wireless connections enjoy the same encryption protection.

User Access for Multiple Users:
If you would like to have multiple people with access, make sure that your camera has the ability to set up multiple accounts with unique passwords for each one. This way you can have more control and restrict access for other users. In addition to these accounts and unique passwords, every user should also have two-factor authentication turned on by default.

Understanding How To Use Security Features

A camera that boasts security features still needs to be set up properly, with security in mind, to ensure that you are safe.

Keep Software Up to Date:
The software on your camera will need to be updated from time to time. You may be able to sign up to receive notifications or to register your camera. Before setting your camera up, you should also check to see if they have a new version of the software available for download on the manufacturer’s site.

Password Settings:
Make sure that you set up a strong password for your camera, your app if applicable, your router and your WiFi. Never leave the default passwords as they are very easy to access or guess. Consider using a passphrase of at least 10 characters, and ensure that it does not contain any information that is easy to guess, or that you have used in the past.

Enable Your Camera’s Security Features:
If you bought a camera that offers encryption, you may need to turn this feature on. The log in page for your camera should have a URL that begins with https. If it doesn’t, your feed isn’t encrypted, and others may be able to access it.

Keep Your App Up to Date:
Check your app marketplace for updates or set up automatic updates.

Use Secure Wi-Fi:
To protect your privacy, do not use the IP camera app with public Wi-Fi. Use your phone’s internet browser and go to your camera’s login page. Look for https:// at the beginning of the URL so you know your information is encrypted. You should also configure your phone to only connect to secure, private networks, never open public networks.

Centurion Cyber Defence is here to support and protect our communities. Please get in touch with us if you are struggling with this and require assistance. We will do our very best to guide you and ensure that you are safe!