How to Protect Your Webcam From Russian Hackers

Last month yet another “hack” made global headlines and we saw images of sleeping babies, lounge rooms and offices in Australia from hijacked webcams, CCTV cameras and baby monitors.  A Russian website was discovered that streamed live images from thousands of private cameras across the world and global media went into meltdown.

Unfortunately this isn’t new.  These devices have been accessible for years from the internet but now the media have caught hold of the story and the issue has been getting massive attention.

The hijacked cameras on the website are accessible because of 2 reasons:

  1. The webcam is internet enabled so it is accessible from anywhere on the internet.
  2. The access password on the device has been left with a blank password, a default password  or a very weak password.

So how do you protect yourself?

  1. Change the password on your router.  A router is the gateway to your network and if a hacker can access this, they can potentially access all devices and information connected to your network.
  2. Check for security updates for your router in case there are existing software vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
  3. Use strong passwords.  Don’t use easily guessable strings of letters or numbers such as ‘qwerty’ or ‘54321’.  A combination of numbers, letters (both capital and lower case) and symbols is best.  Also don’t use words that are easily associated with you.  So don’t use the name of your husband/wife/partner/child/pet etc.
  4. Don’t use the same password across all your devices and services.  If someone finds the password out then they potentially access all of your services.
  5. If you have a camera in your home or business and you’re doing something sensitive turn its remote viewing options off or if you cannot work out how to do it, cover the lens.
  6. If you use cloud services to store information consider introducing two-step authentication.  This will require you to enter an extra code when logging in.

These tips are only the basics and if you’re a business you should be looking at an internet security strategy to help protect your staff and devices, both wired and mobile.


About the Author

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.

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