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Is Somebody Watching You Right Now?

by | Jan 6, 2015 | IT Security

It is worrying enough for a business to think that their data is being accessed by others, let alone their physical actions through webcams. The issue of insecure webcams was recently made apparent when a Russian-based website gave internet users the ability to view live footage from many insecure webcams across the world.

This footage was streamed from a range of different cameras including CCTV security cameras and baby-monitors.

However, your business need not worry about this, providing they follow the correct steps.

Secure that Webcam

The first, and most important step, you should take when setting up a new networked webcam of any kind is to create a password for it.

It’s important that you don’t use the ready-set password on the camera when you buy it. These passwords are often readily available in online databases for anyone to access if they should so wish.

However, it’s not enough to just have a password; it needs to be strong. Ideally, this password should consist of a mixture of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers. You should also avoid using personal information in the passwords, such as dates of birth or maiden names as these are easy to guess.

Update the Firmware

Many devices have updatable software built-in. Following production vulnerabilities may be found in a particular device and manufacturers often issue updates to patch these.

Check your webcam manufacturers website to see if there are any firmware updates available.

Change the Default Settings

You should also check all of the webcam settings to ensure you only have what you need switched on. If you don’t require the ability to access the camera’s footage remotely no one else does, so you should turn off the settings to do so.

Cover it Up

As a final resort, if you are unable to locate or change the security settings on your camera, you can always cover the lens while it is not in use. A neat trick is just to use a post-it note over the camera, these are easily applied and remove when the camera is in use. It may sound dramatic, but it works.

Secure the rest of your Devices

It’s not just webcams that attackers can access, of course. Any networked devices, such as tablets, mobile phones, answer phones, even lighting or heating systems could be accessed remotely.

You should use sufficiently strong passwords on these devices in all cases to stop attackers on one level, but also check to see if you can add two-step authentication to provide an extra level of protection for your personal information.

Each time you get a new device, you should always take time to change any default settings to help reduce your vulnerability.

[Photo Credit: mofetos ]

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