Hackable in-home webcams a concern for homeowners

Posted at 8:35 AM, Nov 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-07 14:01:12-05

Strangers watching your families and your home — it sounds like something out of a sinister movie plot, but the reality is it’s far more common in the real-world.

Several websites exist that broadcast WiFi connected devices video streams. The issue, according to experts, is that many people don’t change default passwords. That means many are purchasing cameras to watch baby cribs, their home, or their property and are unknowingly making themselves less secure.

Of course, some people will naturally change passwords for camera-based technology but as security experts explained to 7 Action News: it’s not always that simple.

In many cases smaller devices inside the home that are connected to the internet are an afterthought. That means items like an internet-connected lamp, or coffeemaker would be left with the original factory settings, including a password — criminals can hack those devices easily and hop from device to device to get to the items that are password protected.

According to Jason Brown, the Chief Information Security Officer at Merit, there’s other issues as more and more things connect to the internet: “The concern is more along the lines of purchasing equipment from less known companies or organizations.”

According to Brown, some items are being pushed to production and kinks are worked out later. That means more vulnerability for you.

The biggest thing you can do to protect yourself is to change the passwords on everything you buy. Every factory password left on a device that’s connected to the internet in your home is an additional pathway for potential hacking. Some experts say don’t stop at that, if the device has the capability you should set up a two password system to add an extra barrier of security.

“And if it doesn’t have to be connected to the internet, or an open internet connection, don’t connect it at all,” said Brown.