The hidden dangers of unsecured cameras
RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) —
Security cameras are intended to make us safer but in some cases we're broadcasting our lives to prying eyes and possibly criminals who could do us harm.
Dan Lee knows the risks. He has security cameras inside and out of his Reno home.
"Once you come on to property, you're on camera," he said.
Lee is not just a believer in security cameras, he's a business owner who sells alarms and surveillance systems at DanDe Communication. Lee's cameras are locked down and secured with a password. And he makes sure his customers do the same.
"Generally what I do is tell everybody 'you need to change your password on the security system and on your router.' The router is probably more vulnerable to your identity theft then even a camera system," Lee said.
But too many people don't set a password on their security cameras or they leave the default password from the manufacturer. That's opens your life up to anyone who wants to watch you and your family to see what you're doing. A doorbell camera could tell criminals when you leave the house. A creep couple peek in on your sleeping child. And a overall your privacy could be violated.
"If you have cameras in the inside of your house, a lot of people put them in to watch baby sitters, their dogs like that, you're going to wind up opening yourself up for somebody to be like window shopping," said Mel Bartlett with Cook Security Group.
Bartlett installs security systems and cameras. He says cameras are more popular than ever.
"The best thing the cameras do is like putting a big dog on the porch, it keeps the people, most of them away," Said Bartlett.
But online security cameras are not always used for good things. There are websites that link viewers to see hundreds of thousands of security cameras all over the world. There you will find shots of minimally dressed people at pools, cameras are in office buildings where you could easily see sensitive information on their computers and there are also shots at businesses where credit card information could be exchanged in view for anyone to steal. A Russian website states that the cameras are up for public view because they are not password protected.
Several cameras were from the Reno area, broadcasting to the world. Most were harmless views of Peavine and colleges but there were also doorways and pool shots.
The website lets people see the location of the IP address of the cameras which could be where the actual cameras are located.
According to the Russian website, 21 percent of the cameras were located outdoors and in parks, 21 percent were in parking lots and 15 percent of cameras were in homes.
Security experts said it's important to set a unique password and change the default password of any camera.
"Everybody's trying to be more secure and everything's being more unsafe. So you have to protect yourself," said Bartlett.