People who have IP cameras or smart TVs in their home might want to read the Singapore Police Force’s advisory on how to make sure these devices are secure.
According to the SPF’s advisory dated 25 January 2021, hackers can easily gain access to IP cameras whose factory-set passwords that have not been changed after installation. After accessing the victim’s IP camera, hackers can record footage resulting in a loss of privacy. Hackers can use the recordings against the victim by blackmailing them or leaking the footages online.
Besides IP cameras, SPF also included devices like smart TVs and digital locks among the items in danger of being hacked.
Smart devices may also have “inherent vulnerabilities” that hackers or criminals could exploit, leaving personal information vulnerable to being taken without the victim’s permission. It will lead to loss of privacy, and even monetary loss if hackers were able to get a hold of your financial information.
SPF suggested creating a guest network in your router if it is capable of hosting one. “The Wi-Fi router is the doorway to your smart devices,” the SPF said, “Should the guest network be compromised, the hacker would not have access to the more important devices you place on the main network.”
They also mentioned enabling 2-Factor Authentication if the security feature is available on devices.
For IP cameras, SPF recommended the public to set up a password requirement on their cameras to prevent unauthorised access. They also advise encrypting data transmitted through the internet if the IP camera in question supports that feature.
You can find more precautions the SPF suggested here.
These precautions are timely because it comes at a time when everybody is doing the most basic things remotely, like grocery shopping, during this pandemic
The Straits Times reported back in 2020 that footage from hacked security cameras, particularly from IP cameras, were uploaded to pornographic sites, with some of them were specified to have come from Singapore.
The recordings were of people caught in various levels of undress and intimacy. Experts believed that the hacking was made possible due to poor password management.
The threat of being hacked or becoming a victim of cybercrime isn’t exclusive to Singaporeans.
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan, non-profit research organisation in the US, has recorded a total of 131 cases of hacks and cyberattacks around the world during 2020 and 116 in 2019.
These all go to show that you can never be too careful when securing your safety in a digitally interconnected world.
Written by John Paul Joaquin