Security experts explain how to keep your home security video systems safe

Updated: Dec. 16, 2019 at 11:26 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A new security threat is scaring families across the country, as a popular holiday gift has been a recent target for hackers.

After reports of strangers gaining access to people’s home security cameras, the tech company Ring confirms they are investigating multiple incidents across the country where hackers tapped into people’s cameras and used the device’s speaker to harass people in their homes.

People are purchasing these devices for added security, but what happens if there’s an extra set of eyes from someone you don’t know is watching? In a company statement, Ring stresses there is “no evidence of an unauthorized intrusion or compromise in Ring’s systems or network." The company added the hackers obtained users information from “a separate, external, non-Ring service.” This means the hacker likely took advantage of the family’s weak account security.

So what can you do to keep these strangers out of your home? Stanton Greenawalt, cybersecurity professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, says to start simple.

First, protect your Wi-Fi with a strong password. In addition, make sure to use two-factor authentication, as this adds an extra layer of security. Greenawalt says hackers prey on weak security accounts and without proper security protection, finding vulnerable cameras is easy. Therefore, it’s important to avoid using the same password for different accounts and change them regularly.

Experts also recommend creating a separate Wi-Fi network for your video surveillance cameras.

“Have two separate wireless networks in your house. If you have this, then you have one to choose for TV and your telephone or your smartphone. But then on the internet of things - your refrigerator, your heating, cooling system, your video cameras - have that on a different wireless setup and therefore you can have better security," said Greenawalt.

If you already own a Ring device or plan on getting one over the holidays, experts say they are still great tools to have, but just be sure to take those additional security steps to protect yourself.

On top of using strong passwords, make sure you update them regularly and use different passwords for everything you do online. There are also multiple ways to check and see if somebody’s accessed your personal Wi-Fi by reaching out to your internet provider.

The main photo for this story is credited to Trusty Joe.

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