Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Home And Business Security

Thoughts on wireless security camera systems?

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jerseyboy:

--- Quote from: CharlesH on April 30, 2016, 07:20:08 PM ---Any packages that come with an app for a smart phone?

--- End quote ---

The android application "IP Cam Viewer" will work on the same network as the IP camera. If you want to see the camera outside your network you have to put a hole in your firewall (port forwarding) which sounds as bad as it is.

Jerseyboy

I.L.W.:
I second Jersey's suggestions. The cameras (for your uses) need not be ultra high-end. You might need to make out a face from 100' or a license plate in the driveway. It doesn't need to look "pretty", as long as things in the focal length of the lense are recorded clearly enough to be discernable.

You're better off going with several cameras at a cheaper price than one higher end camera that has blindspots.

PoE (Power over Ethernet) makes install easy, and will be easier to secure. You can put them on their own subnet so they can't be accessed by someone wardriving. You would be shocked how many compromised home cameras there are. Virtually every wireless camera out there can be accessed easily by anyone. It's not a flaw with the camera itself (with a few notable exceptions), but with the way most wireless routers (especially those you get from your ISP) are secured.

If you use WEP encryption, I can get in with my smartphone in under 12 seconds (that's really the maximum time). WPA takes about 3 minutes on average, WPA2 can be 10 minutes up to a couple of hours, but they are all crackable.

The other side of this, it may not be someone hacking your wifi to access your camera, but instead intercepting packets from the camera to crack your wifi, lol. Even if you have really good encryption and a strong key, the cameras become a point of failure. The process or cracking wifi security comes down to intercepting as many packets of data as possible on that network, looking for commonalities in those packets, and using that to reverse engineer the encryption key (this is done through software, so even an idiot can download a wifi cracking app and use it). Wireless cameras kill your network security because they send a constant stream of packets at regular intervals, and the data is fairly uniform. If it's dark, there's no motion and the camera has compressed the image before sending it, it may end up sending the exact same image dozens of times in a row. That means the couple of hours it would normally take is reduced to just a few minutes.

This is why PoE cameras are better, and that negates concerns with interference on the 2.4Ghz spectrum. The downside is you have to run some cable.

If you go wireless, consider getting an enclosure for the camera. This serves four purposes:
• Can disguise the camera (not helpful if you want it as a visual deterrent, but in some situations you will prefer people not knowing you're recording). If I see a wireless camera, it's like hanging a big sign in front of your house saying "Hack my Network", lol. Really comes down to who you're protecting against.
• Additional protection from the elements.
• Covers the power connection (nobody can just pull the cord, it's under an enclosure which is bolted down).
• Covers the model of camera. A "hacker" doesn't know how to exploit every piece of technology, but they sure as hell know how to Google "Default Password for TP-Link Cameras". If nobody knows what kind of camera they're dealing with, you're a lot better off.

You're the only house on the street, so you're not likely to find some renegade rural hacker going door to door. If you lived in an apartment where there are 20+ wireless networks visible on your devices... well wireless cameras would surely screw you. You're probably safer than most people using them, so my advice here might seem a bit alarmist. Just keep in mind, burglars are wise to this tech. They may not be in it to hack your network, but they have the apps and they know how to use them. They check facebook posts for vacation notices to see if anyone's home, they look for "DIY" alarm systems (unmonitored) and can remotely disable many of them. Gone are the days of someone randomly kicking in your door (unless you live in a drug neighborhood)... They come prepared and it's very high-tech. Likewise, stalkers don't just follow you around and sit outside your house, they engage in cyberstalking as well now. They are well versed in information and device security (and security flaws). Crazy people are getting smarter, lol.

Quick Warning on PoE:
If they are powered by a router which also has wifi, make sure it's secured and not broadcasting the SSID. If I can access the wireless signal, I can reboot the router, thus killing your cameras for a few minutes. If I get on your network I can use a simple script to launch dozens of web requests to your router, one of which is likely the soft-reboot sequence. For example, this would kill most Frontier and Century Link modems (made by Netgear at least).


--- Code: ---<a target=_new onclick="window.open('http://192.168.254.254/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE'); window.open('http://192.168.1.1/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE'); window.open('http://192.168.1.1/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE'); window.open('http:// 192.168.0.1/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE'); window.open('http:// 192.168.254.1/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE'); window.open('http://192.168.0.254/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE');window.open('http://192.168.1.254/htmlV/reset.asp?restart=TRUE');>Kill Netgear DSL modems</a>
--- End code ---

I've omitted the passwords so this doesn't get used maliciously, but If I'm on your network I can poll the password and have it automatically inserted into the script. All hackers have a webpage like this on their phones, a "Skeleton Key" with hundreds of thousands of combinations of default and common passwords and modem reboot and reset URLs. This is obviously an abridged list. One click shuts down every modem/router issued by an ISP in the US, as long as you're connected to it's network.

Outdoors Only!
If the camera is monitoring your front yard, that's fine. But don't leave them running in your home. No Camera Baby monitors, or watching the pets while you're away at work. If there's an internet connected camera, whatever it captures is visible to anyone who wants to look. None of them are adequately secured. I'm not talking about the NSA, "big brother is watching you" stuff. More likely a pervert neighbor, mischievous co-worker, nosey family member... Webcams are accessible with RATs (Remote Access Tools) which are distributed as the payload in a huge variety of malware. They don't usually trigger antiviruses and go undetected unless you know to manually look for it. Additionally, many cheaper online cameras upload the data to a file host so you can view them. In many cases you have no option to secure those files, they are visible to anyone with the URL.

Do a Google Search for "inurl:view/index.shtml" to find Axis webcams for example. Here's a benign one: http://82.139.167.140:3131/view/index.shtml
So there's someone's private webcam (commercial). Imagine that camera wasn't on a public street, but in your home. If you search for the default URL patterns of these cameras, you can find lots which are in people's home. (please don't do that).


Overview:
PoE, not wireless.
Many cams, not just one on the front door.
Use enclosures.
Secure your Wireless Network (No SSID broadcast, Change the Gateway IP, assign Static IPs, turn off DHCP, Use MAC Address Whitelisting, Change the default gateway administrator password, use the strongest encryption you can, use a secure key for the encryption, not a password). The basic security stuff.


Try a web-connected motion sensor. Belkin WeMo makes one. They only cover a small area, and are not weather proof, but could work in a sheltered location by a door. Set it up, and connect it to an IFTTT.com account (free).

There you can tell it:
• "If the WeMo Motion Sensor is activated, Send me a Text Message to  {your number} saying "Someone has approached your front door".
• "If the WeMo Motion Sensor is activated, tell {web connected camera} to take a picture.
• "If the WeMo Motion Sensor is activated, tell my Philips Hue lightbulbs to turn on and glow red. (nice alert for when the pizza guy gets there, lol)

Or we can get redneck fancy with the security. Setup your web-connected motion detector so it's only monitoring motion when your phone's GPS shows you as being out of the house.  Into that you plug a small motor which coils-up (thus tightening) the slipnot you've tied into some fishing line, which is secured around the trigger of a starter pistol, stored in a locked metal box for safety and sound amplification. Now when someone approaches your door, they're greeted with the sound of gunshots! You'll never be burglarized, but you'll probably make the UPS guy piss himself, lol.

Yeah, that's a bit over the top, but the point is you can really interconnect devices and come up with any imaginable type of security system. The only limit is your creativity.

michaelnz:
Very useful thread. Thanks for the posts

fnfalguy:
We installed a simple wireless system at the house.  It's called blink, uses an app and video is stored in the cloud.  We have been extremely happy with it thus far.  The cameras are self contained and don't require an AC plug which was our biggest issue with most of the systems we looked at.

Smurf Hunter:
I'm interested in doing this as well.  We have an ADT monitored security alarm, with a single camera that is triggered when the front door opens.
It's got all the phone apps, cloud storage, and alerts.

I'm wondering if I'd be better off rolling my own.  For example I could install a network of Raspberry Pi controlled cameras for a fraction of the cost.  Further I could power those off low voltage, either DC wiring or lithium batteries that I change out quarterly.  Since they are basically mini-PCs, I could upload the videos to anyplace I wanted and/or local storage (they make 256GB SD cards now).

I don't want to reinvent the wheel, but I'm pretty technical and think I could do something 90% as good for a fraction of the price.

Any thoughts on this?

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