MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - A do-it-yourself home security system could be simple and cheap, but could you be exposing your family to a stranger's prying eyes?
The Local I-Team has learned people as far away as Russia could be staring into your living room.
Computer savvy hackers can easily access your home's security cameras and peer into your world and you never even know it. And you don't have to be a hacker. There's a Russian website which has access to more than 70,000 security cameras around the world, including cameras in homes and businesses here in the Mid-South.
On the Russian website, we found people going in and out of a Memphis carport and children playing in their Germantown backyard. The Local I-Team found a midtown Memphis homeowner and explained to her that the security camera in her driveway is accessible for anyone to see online. She had no idea her home was being broadcast to the world.
Tracy Wiswall is a self-proclaimed home camera security geek. He has nine cameras posted around his Central Gardens home. Wiswall is aware that computer savvy people can hack into unprotected security cameras, but he didn't know that a Russian website was broadcasting security cameras to anyone with a laptop.
“It's both neat and terrifying all at the same time,” said Wiswall.
“The do-it-yourself systems are very simple but there are also very vulnerable,” said security camera expert David Robinson. Robinson owns Delta Surveillance. He has set up cameras in homes and businesses for more than 30 years.
Robinson says all systems come with default settings and passwords. All that information is posted on the internet. Some systems force users to change the default settings, others don't.
Bottom line, it's up to you. You must change the default passwords, or your security system is at risk.
“Once someone has gotten into your system, if they try the default password, and if it works, then they are in your system and they can view your cameras,” said Robinson.
That Russian website says it only accesses systems that have unprotected passwords and doesn't hack into people lives.
Experts say here's what you need to do.
- Use strong passwords when you change the default setting. The more complex the password the better.
- Also, wired systems are more secure than wireless.
- Many wireless cameras allow remote viewing thru your phone or a website. Experts say turn off the remote setting when you aren't using it.