When setting up a home security system, you must password-protect your Wi-Fi and set up two-factor authentication (2FA). Hackers could take over your home network if you don’t take these precautions.
Safeguards like these can help stop a digital home invasion. Hackers are increasingly breaking into home security cameras, taunting and extorting people. A security oversight on your part could open the floodgates for a criminal to launch a reign of terror on you and your family.
Scroll down for five signs that your security cameras are compromised. Once you know what to look for, you can quickly respond in case of a breach.
1. Strange sounds or unfamiliar voices
This is one of the most obvious signs a hacker broke is present. One man realized his family was in danger after hearing strange voices from his daughter’s room. After putting his baby to sleep, he investigated peculiar noises from her bedroom.
Then, he heard a man’s voice. A hacker had broken into his Nest account and taken over the smart home, from the thermostats to the 16 security cameras. Then, the hacker set the home’s thermostat to 90 degrees. How weird is that?
If you aren’t sure how this is possible, remember that many security cameras have two-way talk features. Hackers can infiltrate the audio system and speak to you.
They could still make noises even if they aren’t so bold as to taunt you. Keep your ears perked for sounds out of the ordinary. They’re dead giveaways that a hacker has breached your home security system.
In another scary example, a mom recently said a stranger hacked her Owlet Wi-Fi baby monitor to talk to her son at night. The password had been leaked in a data breach. Reminder: Change the default passwords on all your devices, folks.
RELATED: Want cameras to watch your house when you’re gone but not when you’re home? Do this
2. Your security camera is moving strangely
Watch for unusual panning or rotation. Move around in front of the camera and see if it follows you. That’s a surefire sign a hacker has gained access.
One Dutch woman caught a deviant this way. She bought a webcam to watch her puppy while away from home. She once spotted the rotating camera swiveling to look at her. “I moved to the left and right, and the camera came with me,” she told The Sun.
Then she heard a strange voice. She said to the camera, “Get out of my house” and the hacker started sexually harassing her.
So if you ever hear a strange voice, shut your security camera off. Then, go into your app and immediately change your password.
3. Updated settings are one of the most prominent signs
Sneaky hackers won’t want you to know they’re in your network. They’ll quietly change your security settings. Maybe they’ll change your password.
Some arrogant hackers might even change your camera name. Maybe they’ll change it to “Change your password” or “Upgrade your firmware” as a sign of mockery and disrespect.
This is critical: Change your password before they change it and lock you out of your system.
Your password could have been part of a data breach, giving cybercriminals access to your network. Tap or click here for three ways to see if your passwords are being sold on the Dark Web.
4. Your smart camera is using more data than ever before
If you have a security camera that streams live video to the cloud, watch its data consumption closely. See if it’s transferring a ton of data when you aren’t using it. This is one of the most prominent signs your security camera has been hacked.
5. Your camera’s LED light is on … but you aren’t using it
Many security cameras use visual clues to let you know they’re in use. For example, Ring cameras have small LED lights that let you know whether they’re on. So watch for your camera’s light blinking or flashing.
Sadly, not all security cameras have visual cues. Maybe you bought one without flashing LED lights to let you know someone’s accessing it. That’s why you should look for other signs that your security camera has been hacked.
Now that you know the signs your security camera has been hacked, what is next?
How do you protect security cams? We’ve got you covered if you aren’t sure how to keep them safe.
Here’s how to keep home security cameras from being hacked:
- Password-protect your Wi-Fi: This is simple. If you don’t have a unique password, anyone can break in. Don’t put yourself at the mercy of bad guys. If you stick with the default password, anyone can look it up. Plus, you could get in serious legal trouble if you don’t change your Wi-Fi and router passwords from their default versions. Tap or click here for steps to change your Wi-Fi and router passwords.
- Don’t reuse the same username and passwords: Bad guys can access many of your accounts when you do this. Hackers collect usernames and passwords from unrelated accounts when they’re exposed to data breaches. Then, they’ll test those exposed passwords against your security systems and network. Always use unique passwords for every online account.
- Practice good password hygiene: This means creating strong, original, hard-to-crack passwords. Can’t keep track of all your unique passwords? Just use a password manager. Tap or click here to get started.
- Use two-factor authentication: This is a simple way to make it more difficult for hackers to break into your network. If a security breach exposes your password, this provides an extra layer of security. With 2FA, you must prove your identity on a separate personal device to log into an account. Here’s how it works.
- Turn on auto-update: You need to have the latest security features. Otherwise, old bugs could expose your entire system. So go to your phone, open the app and sign up for automatic updates so you never miss out on the latest security boosts.
If you want more cybersecurity tips, we’ve got you covered.
Five types of cybersecurity threats you should know about
Hackers can get into these popular smart home gadgets
How to make your home smart without losing privacy
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