It’s late at night, and you’re snuggling up, ready for bed, when all of a sudden, you hear strange sounds coming from the corner of the room. Most of it is indiscernible, but it piques your interest. You unfurl the blankets and slowly creep up to the area in question, only to realize it’s coming from your security camera.
First of all, why would anyone even have a security camera blatantly pointing towards their bed? But more importantly, it’s one way to know how to tell if your security camera is hacked. Today’s security cameras offer more peace of mind than ever before. However, despite all of the advancements in encryption and privacy, they can still be compromised by hackers who may have other nefarious ambitions.
This problem isn’t going away any time soon, so we’re going to point out all of those tell-tale signs — plus the many ways you can protect yourself. Being informed goes a long way. Keep reading below so you know how to tell if your security camera is hacked — plus a few ways to keep it from being hacked again.
1. Hearing Disembodied Voices or Sounds
Out of all the ways to know if your security camera has been hacked, it has to be none other than hearing strange voices coming out of it. Since today’s cameras have two-way communication, a hacker could very well say something to you. There have been many reports of this happening, especially when the disembodied voice is speaking to younger children.
It’s a frightening encounter that can leave people irked at first, but if there are any follow-up voices soon after, you should raise your guard and, at the very least, unplug it immediately. This way, you’ll at least give yourself time to figure out what to do next.
2. Your Camera Pans on Its Own
While most cameras are stationary and positioned strategically to watch over a specific area, some can pan around for 360-degree coverage. This feature comes in handy when you need to see more of a room, but the user typically initiates the panning action through an app.
When it moves on its own, particularly when someone with access to the app is not controlling it, someone may have hacked it. The only time that some of these cameras move on their own is when set to away, a mode initiated when everyone in the household is not home, so that way, the camera can follow subjects whenever it detects motion.
3. Your Account Password Has Changed
Users would typically launch the respective app on their phones to access your home security camera. However, suppose you suddenly find that the app is asking you to enter your password, especially when you didn’t initiate any resets in the first place. In that case, that’s a significant clue as to how your security camera got hacked.
You can quickly verify if it’s a legit request by checking your email. Of course, if you see a message in your inbox that your password changed, presumably it’s because someone obtained the credentials through some other method. If this happens, it’s a good idea to reset not only your camera’s login password but also your email.
4. Increased Data Usage
This one isn’t as obvious, but it’s nevertheless another way to determine if your camera is compromised. Given how 2K and 4K resolutions are becoming more commonplace among security cameras, they’re eating up more data to transfer video and audio information between the camera, servers and user.
If you have firewall software installed on your computer, it can notify you whenever there’s suspicious data activity happening on your network. A bonus of replacing your existing router with a firewall router is that you would add even more coverage protecting all of your devices from being hacked. Firewalla, for example, can monitor the activities of all your smart home devices and notify you if there are suspicious activities such as spikes in data consumption.
5. Suspicious Device Access In Your Account
Even though not every security camera service offers this, services such as Ring can show you all the authorized devices on your account — you know, the devices that have logged into the app using your credentials. You’ll see every approved device, so if you happen to find an unknown device or one that no one in your household uses, it means that your camera may be compromised.
Users can see the list of approved devices through the Control Center landing page through the Ring app. It’s good practice to inspect the list now and then because you never know when a suspicious device might suddenly pop up there.
Can You Keep Security Camera Hacks from Happening?
No one ever wants to feel vulnerable, but that’s precisely the feeling people experience whenever their security cameras have been hacked. In some instances, the hacker may have criminal intentions, while others may simply be doing it for a laugh at your expense. Whichever the case, you never want to be at the tail end of it all.
Thankfully, there’s still something you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place. Staying informed is always critical, so not only are we letting you know how to know if your security camera is hacked, but we also have some suggestions to keep your security camera from getting hacked in the future.
1. Activate Your Camera LED Light
Most companies offering security cameras aren’t taking your privacy for granted. That is evident by how just about every camera features an LED light, which you can then activate to turn on whenever someone accesses the camera. That way, if you’re at home and quickly glance at it, you can instantly tell if perhaps someone is watching you from the other end. Arlo’s Essential Indoor Camera has a bright LED notification light that does precisely this, so you know when it’s active.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
You would think that every security camera service would offer two-factor authentication, but sadly that’s not the case. It’s a popular security feature widely used as an added deterrent for hackers. So even if your password is compromised, the hacker would still need the information from your second authentication source to access your account and camera.
Cameras like the Ring Indoor Cam makes it mandatory for users to set up two-factor authentication upon setting up their account for the first time. In fact, Ring recently made this a standard practice across the board for all users.
3. Stick With a Camera That Can Hide
Most cameras are stationary, but others can articulate — much like those that can pan around. Security cameras such as the Eufy Solo IndoorCam P24 can actually tuck away its camera lens when it’s not in use.
This feature is convenient because it effectively hides the camera, so even if someone somehow hacked the camera, you’d be able to tell because the camera’s lens would be visible again.
4. Preserve Privacy with Mechanical Shutters
Alternatively, security cameras like the SimpliSafe SimpliCam, feature a physical privacy shutter covering the camera. Not only can you achieve peace of mind, but there’s a distinctive sound that the mechanical shutter makes whenever it’s opened or closed. Even if a hacker somehow hacked it, the audible tone is discernible, so you can be informed when someone has access.
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