NCSC Publishes Advisory on how to Secure “Smart” Cameras

By Bill Toulas / March 3, 2020

IoT and smart devices of all kinds have invaded our everyday lives and homes. We are using smart speakers, smart TVs, smart bulbs, and smart refrigerators. Among all types, the one that is maybe the riskiest is smart cameras that are usually deployed as safety/security cams, or for monitoring your baby in the other room. Securing these products from unauthorized access or takeover becomes a necessity, so the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published an advisory to guide the average consumer on what they should do.

Each camera is different, and so there’s no universal way of setting yours up. If you need help, you’d better open its manual or visit the manufacturer’s website. In most cases, there are user forums on the official online portal where you can address your questions and get help. To change the password on older models, you may have to launch your web browser and enter the camera’s IP address to access its settings through it.

In regards to the WiFi router, consumers are advised to disable the "UPnP" and "port forwarding" features. UPnP stands for “Universal Plug and Play” and is a networking protocol that enables devices to discover each other when connected on the same network seamlessly. This “easy discovery” introduces security risks when hackers are trying to move laterally or deeper into the compromised network. Again, to set up your router, you have to enter its IP address and access its settings for the web browser. Check your product’s manual for instructions on how to do that.

Finally, if possible, it would be a good idea to set up a secondary WiFi network that is dedicated to all IoTs and webcams in your home. This way, even if a hacker manages to compromise a device, they won’t be able to move deeper and access your laptops, desktops, or other vital systems that hold sensitive data.

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