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CCTV Surveillance System Password Security

IP surveillance systems, or CCTV surveillance systems as they are still more commonly called, have been in use for a number of years, playing an important role in protecting people and property. However the lack of CCTV surveillance system password security has led many to question their vulnerability to hacking.

In the early days, only professional installers would have had the skills to buy and install the equipment. The system would also have been installed to a commercial building as part of a carefully planned project and security of what is filmed or recorded would have to comply with industry standards.

Nowadays, IP surveillance systems have become readily available to both professional installers such as Tecserv UK as well as to DIY enthusiasts who are able to purchase CCTV surveillance equipment and cameras online, from trade suppliers or high street shops.

This is good news and bad news! Good in that protecting your valuable assets is easier and more affordable to do. Yet bad, in that you potentially open up the risk that your systems can be hacked and your images shared worldwide, if the install is not done correctly!

The ‘do it yourself’ install has been made possible because the technology is becoming more readily available and easier to install. A lot of systems are set up to be plug and play. You simply unwrap the recorder, cameras, plug them in and hey presto you have an instant surveillance system.

Most modern systems also feature “self-monitored or remote viewing” via mobile phones or tablets. Again it is very easy to set up in the majority of cases. Plug in your recorder or device to your router, download an app, scan a QR code or add serial numbers and its done! The images from your surveillance cameras are visible to you wherever you can connect to the internet.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

Until you discover that someone else can view your surveillance system, simply because during the installation you forgot or did not realise you needed to set up user names or passwords!

Just like your mobile phone, every CCTV surveillance systems, whether it is used for commercial or domestic applications, leaves the manufacturing plant with the same default settings. This means that every camera, recorder or device will be set to a factory default user name and password, which are normally based on rememberable data such as “Admin” or “123456.”

Normally, this means that unless the system has been installed by a professional, or by someone that is IP security savvy these defaults remain the same, leaving your system vulnerable.

Insecure IP surveillance systems, have been bought into the limelight on numerous occasions over the last few years, and there have been news reports and investigations into websites that specifically target surveillance systems that have retained their default passwords.

These websites compile lists of CCTV systems throughout the world and have created automatic links for anyone to click. This means that ANY system on these lists can be accessed and the images viewed live by ANYONE right across the globe who has a desire to look!

Investigations into these websites have shown that the footage available to view covers a vast mix of content, but worryingly some cameras display school cameras, children’s bedrooms, and other sensitive areas.

Insecure surveillance cameras are an immediate source for anyone to conduct research and planning to aid any criminal, terrorist or sinister activity they may wish to carry out.

By ensuring you change ether username and password when systems are installed means that this vulnerability can be almost 100% eliminated. Sadly, we live in a world where the cyber criminal is very technically savvy, but by ensuring passwords are changed and appropriate firewalls are installed to prevent hackers from gaining access to your IT infrastructures you can significantly reduce the risk.

The best type of password is one that uses alpha, numeric and special character combinations that are over 8 characters in length. These combinations are very hard to decipher by automated phishing, and cyber-attacks.

Rest assured, a professional CCTV surveillance equipment installer like Tecserv UK will ensure your systems are fully secure and compliant.

If you are worried about your IP Surveillance system vulnerability please complete the enquiry form below. In most instances, we offer a free on-site audit for commercial premises.

Mick Brooke

Mick has over 30 years experience working within the Fire and Security industry. Starting as an installation engineer and quickly progressing into both operational and sales management roles.

Posted on: 12 June 2018
Last updated: 6 May 2022
Posted in: CCTV, News
Author: Mick Brooke