Calgary Police Service calls attention to home security hackers

Image from a home security camera.
Image from a home security camera.

Instances of hackers accessing home security cameras appear to be on the rise.

Constable Jeremy Shaw, a digital communications officer with the Calgary Police Service, posted two images to his Facebook page on Wednesday that he claimed were taken illegally by a hacker.

“What if some unscrupulous internet villain hacked your home WiFi and posted your cameras on the internet for all to see?” Shaw wrote in his post.

He added that he has recently learned of at least two Calgary homes that have fallen victim to this.

Shaw later determined that one of images he shared was actually from a blogger who is aware that their home video feed is being shared.

The second image was sent to CPS from a concerned citizen in Texas, who was browsing through various webcam feeds (traffic cameras, zoo cameras etc.) on a mobile app, when she came across one that was clearly a personal residence.

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She noticed the description said the video originated in Calgary and felt compelled to alert the CPS, worried that it was the result of a hacked camera.

Many new home security systems come with the option of monitoring the security feed from the owner’s smartphone.

This can be advantageous because with certain systems you can receive notifications when your children arrive home from school, remotely monitor your housekeepers or contractors, adjust the thermostat and even activate or deactivate the system remotely.

However, if your router’s security becomes compromised, that means a hacker can also do all of those things.  Creepy, to say the least.

Having one’s privacy violated is a serious concern for anyone, and cases such as the hacked image posted by Constable Shaw, are happening more and more. It is important to ensure all individual devices as well as the router are properly protected with passcodes and the most up-to-date security software.

LEARN MORE: High-tech home hacks can expose security flaws

Click to play video: 'High-tech home hacks can expose security flaws'
High-tech home hacks can expose security flaws

Beyond just having privacy violated, hacking into surveillance system could have other implications for criminal activity.

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“If you have an active camera like that in your house  that’s been compromised it would be easy for somebody to become aware of your daily schedule…leaving them that opportunity to potentially break in,” Shaw said.

Shaw explained that this would also depend on whether or not the hacker was sophisticated enough to determine the IP address and location of the specific camera.

Constable Shaw stated that if someone suspects they have become victim to this, to contact the police so they can start an investigation with their cyber crimes team.



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