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Security cameras only as safe as updated software

By Pauleen Le, ple@wkbt.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 05:47:33 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 06:17:08 PM CST
Security camera

WKBT, News8000.com

LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

Security cameras are becoming more and more popular among businesses and homeowners, but how easy is the technology for hackers to crack?

In August, a Texas family discovered someone who was able to hack into their baby monitor camera through an Internet connection.

Experts said security cameras are meant to provide that extra layer of protection to businesses or homes, and it can do that as long as people can keep up with the technology.

When it started more than 40 years ago, Doyle TV in La Crosse just focused on the big screens, but now it’s the small screens that are rising in popularity.

“Now we do a lot of cameras and things like that, and TV is kind of the more sideline more or less now,” said Pat Doyle, president of Doyle TV.

Doyle said more than half of his business comes from installing security cameras for commercial and private properties.

Doyle said as technology advances, cameras are becoming more affordable.

“I think people want to keep an eye on their property,” said Doyle. “There's a lot of vandalism.”

It's also become easier to monitor as many cameras, including surveillance, web and even baby-monitoring cameras are now accessible through an Internet connection.

Mohamed Elhindi is the chief information officer at UW-La Crosse. He said the convenience could come at a price of its own.

“Any device connected to the Internet is running the risk of being hacked, so you have to do your due diligence to secure the infrastructure and secure the specific devices,” said Elhindi.

Elhindi said the biggest mistake people make with security cameras is using the default settings.

“You have to make it tough for other people to penetrate your network,” said Elhindi. “At the same time, (you have to do) testing. So you have to test your own security. ‘Can you get through it?’”

Just like cameras keeping an eye on things, Elhindi said people have to keep a close eye on the technology to make sure it’s doing the job it should.

“There is always security updates that the person did not download and install, drive issues and things like that, so you have to stay up on your revisions of the software for updates,” said Elhindi.

Elhindi said there is no magic number on when or how many times you should update your security camera's software. It could be once a week or once a month, depending on the company.

Other tips to keep in mind include registering your product to get notifications when software updates are available, and turning on your computer’s firewall to protect your network from others that aren't secure or trusted.

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