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How Secure Are Your Home Security Cameras?

Thursday, December 7, 2017 17:10
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Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,

Security cameras are one of the best ways to catch criminals in the act of committing a crime. However, in the past few years, most video surveillance systems have gone online, which means they use the internet for operational and monitoring purposes.

While this advancement has made security cameras more reliable and easier for the average person to install and use, it also opens these cameras to the threat of hacking in addition to the old-school means of disabling them.

Obviously, in order to commit crimes and get away with them, thieves work to render security cameras inoperable — whether by hacking a camera network or sabotaging them in some other way. The last thing a criminal wants is to see their face plastered all over the evening news.

Smile, You’re on Camera

Here’s a prime example: Earlier this year, VFW Post 33 in Osceola, Florida, fell victim to a break-in by criminals who took several steps to ensure they couldn’t be identified by the security footage.

Three people entered into the building around 3:00 a.m. by breaking a window. The suspects had already covered faces, and once inside they took spray paint to the lenses of each security camera to make sure the cameras didn’t capture more evidence of their crime.

And they were successful. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is still offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

To keep you one step ahead of tricky thieves, today I want to share with you the following four ways criminals may try to bypass or disable your home security cameras:

  • Hacking the system — As I previously mentioned, criminals who target large video surveillance systems in places such as businesses will often try to hack into the network and disable the cameras electronically. The most common way they gain access to the camera software is the same way cyberthieves hack into any other network. In short, they’ll send you an email containing a compromised link or direct you to a website with a virus that gives them access to your computer. The best way to defend against this ploy is never to click on any link or visit any unfamiliar website
  • Using a digital jammer — If your system is set up on a digital camera feed, it can easily be beaten for just a few hundred bucks. The fact is anyone can go online and purchase a signal jammer that will disrupt the camera’s video feed. While this method does actually work, it won’t make the screen go all fuzzy like you see in the movies. Instead, it will usually stop the camera from recording and display the last image it captured before the jammer blocked the signal. Unfortunately, the only way around this tactic is to hard-wire your entire system. If you own a business, you might want to consider doing so if you want to make sure your system won’t be easily defeated
  • Cutting the power supply — If your system is hard-wired, then most likely you are running off the power supply to your home or business. The problem with this is a criminal who is planning to break in could shut off the power or simply cut the cord going directly to the camera. This is why I recommend using battery-powered cameras — or at least have a battery backup option — in case the power goes out for any reason
  • Reflect light — When it’s dark outside, you can point a bright LED flashlight at a security camera to create what is called a lens flare so the camera won’t be able to produce a clear image. Since it’s easy for criminals to get their hands on an LED flashlight, it’s one of the more common ways a petty thief will try to block their image from being recorded on camera. The best way to combat this is by installing motion-activated cameras.

The whole reason to have security cameras is to keep your family safe and, in the event of a break-in, catch any criminals who attempt to harm you or your loved ones. This is not something you want to go cheap on or cut corners with.

Again, I can assure you the last thing any criminal wants is to see their face on TV, so if you install a hard-wired system with backup power, you’ll be in a good position to keep your cameras from being compromised.

One last thing: If a complete system isn’t an option for you, you should at least put up a few fake security cameras as a deterrent. If a criminal cuts power to these, it won’t really matter.

Stay safe,

Jason Hanson

Jason Hanson

The post How Secure Are Your Home Security Cameras? appeared first on Laissez Faire.


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