How to Secure Your IP Security Cameras

Keep prying eyes away from your prying eyes

Home entry security camera
BanksPhotos/E+/Getty Images

The IP security camera industry seems to have grown a lot over the past few years. From consumer-grade home IP security cameras such as those from FLIR to professional-grade models. The technology is getting easier to use and more and more people are taking the plunge and installing cameras to watch their property and even their pets.

The big question from a security standpoint is: how do you keep hackers and lookie-loos from finding your cameras on the internet and watching you?

Here are a few tips to help you secure your IP security cameras from prying eyes:

Update Your Camera's Firmware

Most modern IP security cameras feature user upgradeable firmware. If a security vulnerability is found, the IP security camera manufacturer will often fix the vulnerability by issuing a firmware update. Usually, you can update your camera's firmware from the admin console via a web browser.

You should frequently check your IP security camera manufacturer's website for updated firmware so that you can make sure the version you are using doesn't contain an unpatched vulnerability that could be exploited by hackers and Internet voyeurs.

Keep Your Cameras Local

If you don't want your camera feeds to end up on the Internet, then don't connect them to the Internet.

If privacy is your top priority then you should keep your cameras on a local network and assign them non-routable internal IP addresses (i.e 192.168.0.5 or something similar).

Even with non-routable IP addresses, your cameras could still be exposed by camera software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the Internet. Check your IP camera's website to learn how to setup your cameras in local-only mode.

Password Protect Your Cameras

Many IP cameras don't have password protection for video feeds turned on by default.

They probably think that you would rather get your cameras up and run and secure them later. Unfortunately, a lot of people forget to go back and add password protection after the initial setup and end up leaving the cameras wide open for all to access.

Most cameras offer at least some form of basic authentication. It may not be super robust, but at least it is better than nothing at all. Protect your camera feeds with a username and a strong password and change it periodically.

Rename the Default Admin Account and set a new Admin Password

Your camera's default admin name and password, set by the manufacturer, is usually available by visiting their website and going to the support section for your camera model. If you haven't changed the admin name and password then even the most novice hacker can quickly look up the default password and view your feeds and/or take control of your camera.

If Your Camera is Wireless, Turn on WPA2 Encryption

If your camera is wireless capable, you should only join it to a WPA2-encrypted wireless network so that wireless eavesdroppers can't connect to it and access your video feeds.

Don't Place IP Cameras Where They Don't Belong

Don't put an IP security camera inside areas of your house where you wouldn't feel comfortable being seen by strangers.

Even if you think you've secured your cameras in every way possible, there is always the possibility of getting blind-sided by a Zero-Day vulnerability that hasn't been found by your manufacturer yet. You don't want to be the star of someone else's sick reality show so when in doubt, leave the camera out.