KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Home surveillance is at our fingertips. Dozens of companies sell security cameras and surveillance equipment that allow almost anyone, on any budget, to keep tabs on their homes.

However, without the right kind of security setup or taking the right precautions; Home security can lead to false security. Like thousands of Tennesseans, Gary Watlington has a doorbell camera.


“I just wanted to make sure my family was safe and secure,” Watlington said.

He has a full security system in his north Knox County home.

“I actually did some research and found out that these products are from alarm.com – one of the leading providers of security devices and cameras and they’ve never been hacked,” Watlington said.

Not everyone with security cameras can say that. A video from an ABC News story shows how a home surveillance system can be hacked. A young girl can hear music coming through a camera in her room. The person watching her through the camera then tells her that she can destroy her room and the girl calls out to her mother. The mother said she couldn’t put into words how bad she felt about the incident.

Scott Brokamp of HIS Security in Farragut has a lot of experience with home security cameras. They should not have hacks, but they do.

“Now that we have people installing their own systems, they don’t necessarily know the best practices,” said Brokamp, ​​who is a licensed security system installer. Problems can usually be traced back to how we connect to our cameras, he added.

“If it’s just sitting on your network and has an accessible GUI or interface that you can communicate with the camera right now from an IP address that poses a security risk,” Brokamp said. “Yes,” Brokamp said.

According to Brokamp, ​​one way to prevent someone from gaining access is to make sure they have two-factor permissions.

“That’s why it’s so important. When you go to a website if it’s not you, there’s still another layer of protection that will protect you and your video,” Brokamp said.

That’s how his system is set up, Watlington said.

“All the encryption that they use. The type of secure app that they use. And everything else. So, I’m not worried,” Watlington said.

Everyone also needs to remember, Brokamp said, that most of the time when a hacker breaks into their home security system, it can be traced back to homeowners giving out personal information.

“As we know there are all these different scams where people try to get a person’s personal information – and that’s how they’re hacking the majority of their accounts. Whether it’s a spam phone call or a spoof. Whatever the email is we’re giving up that information without realizing or knowing we’re giving it up,” Brokamp said.

So, how do you protect your security system and how do you know if you’ve been hacked?

Experts say some of the signs that you’ve been hacked include strange sounds or sounds coming from the camera’s audio feature, strange camera movements and strange password changes. Some tips to prevent hacking include:

  • Use of a licensed security company
  • Change your passwords frequently.
  • Update your security camera’s firmware and software frequently.
  • Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network.
  • Also, use the Wi-Fi Protected Encryption feature if you access your camera via Wi-Fi.



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