JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Home security cameras are known to give folks peace of mind when they’re not home. Many users like how they can see who’s coming to their door. But who else is watching?
Cases of video from those systems ending up in the wrong hands or being watched by unauthorized company employees are causing concern.
“They could watch them sleeping. They could’ve watched them changing. I mean, they could’ve seen all kinds of things,” Ashley LeMay said after her home security was hacked.
The Tennessee mother of three posted the video of her daughter frightened by a man’s voice speaking through the Ring device.
The company said the case was not related to security on its end. In an unrelated case, four Ring employees were fired for watching customer video feeds, the company said.
“It’s not always clear for the users how much is with those companies,” said security and information expert Vivik Shandilya, of Jacksonville University.
Shandilya said, because security camera-to-phone technology is in its infancy, there is more to learn about making it tougher to access. However, he said, there are steps to take when setting-up the devices, starting with the WIFI.
He said hiding the network name, using strong passwords and testing frequently can help. The same applies to the camera system. He also said users should be sure to enable two-step authentication.
“You can make a small setting change and that requires a slightly more involved process in a sense it is not just your password and that you need a code and that makes it slightly secure,” Shandilya said.
The On Your Side team spoke with several law enforcement agencies about these security systems. None of them have monitoring access of cameras or feeds.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said it has a community partnership in place for neighborhoods to share surveillance video through a social media- type site launched by one of the security companies. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Glynn County Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said they don’t have any such partnerships set up.
Shandilya said be cautious of what the camera displays so as not to give away identifiable information like an address.
“I would rather recommend you point toward a wall or someplace where you have something that is uniquely recognizable for you,” Shandilya said.