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Can My Home Security System Be Hacked?

Home Security Tips Security Cameras Security Systems Apr 11, 2024 9:00:00 AM General Security 9 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • Advanced technology in home security systems brings not just convenience but heightened risks of hacking, highlighting the dual-edged nature of smart home integration.
  • From spying to playful taunting, hackers exploit security system vulnerabilities for various motives, often leaving homeowners feeling violated and defenseless.
  • Recognizing the signs of a hack—such as unexpected camera movements, unauthorized access indicators, and LED signals—can help preempt privacy invasions, yet foolproof detection remains elusive.
  • Strengthening defenses against hacks involves robust password management and adopting multifaceted security protocols like WPA3.
  • Despite potential vulnerabilities, consulting with security professionals and embracing sophisticated protective measures significantly mitigate risks, ensuring peace of mind in the digital age.

Whether you currently own a home security system or have decided to install one for the first time, your goal is safeguarding property and loved ones with the most advanced technology. 

And as with anything in today’s digital world, you must be mindful of increased risks for hacking as attackers become more sophisticated. The rise of smart home technology, with its wireless elements and remote monitoring capabilities, introduces new threats from potential hackers. 

Unfortunately, that’s the price you pay for being able to connect security cameras to your smartphone

The good news is there are proven protections and best practices against hacking you can implement on your own, or by working with a professional home security provider, such as General Security.

In the spirit of helping you be proactive about this potential threat, let’s review best practices on how to identify hacks, precautions to take, and what you can do in the rare instance that your system does get hacked.


Why Do Home Security Cameras Get Hacked? 

There’s really not a single answer.

Typically, it’s to steal security system login data and passwords to spy on unsuspecting consumers. Hackers could use this for schedule tracking, such as when victims leave/arrive home, or go on vacation. 

Envision the “Wet Bandits,” Marv Murchin and Harry Lyme, from the holiday classic “Home Alone.” But instead of snooping around a neighborhood in the dead of night to collect information and going to great lengths to impersonate a cop, they do this entirely through digital hacking. 

Since the hacker has remotely compromised the security system, they can easily enter the unoccupied home—remember, they already know your schedule—without activating alarms and alerts

And some do this for other reasons.

For all you know, this could be for fun—trying to see how far they can push the envelope. There have even been reports of hackers infiltrating a home security camera’s audio and video systems simply to speak to unsuspecting residents.

To hacksters, this type of privacy violation is just a playful gag, completely disregarding how vulnerable or traumatized it makes victims feel. 


Identifying Hacks 

There’s no known fool-proof way to create customized alert notifications for these attacks. One simple precaution is installing a security camera mobile app, such as one from SPECO, Hanwha, Hikvision, Digital Watchdog, Alarm.com, or Avigilon, to name a few.

This provides an event log history of your system’s activity. Signs, such as unauthorized or unusual actions, could signify a system hack. 

In some cases, moving your security camera behind a firewall and setting up alerts for when it's accessed might increase your chances of identifying a hacker. 

Also, if it appears your camera is following you or moving angles without your intervention, there’s a chance somebody has hacked your home security system. These remote intruders might point or zoom pan-tilt-zoom cameras into different set positions. 

Be sure to check with your spouse or other household members on whether they’ve made these changes before you jump to such unsettling conclusions. It’s not uncommon with the abundance of smart safety devices used throughout households.

Your camera’s LED light can offer another sign clue. The camera could suddenly be turned on by a hacker who’s gained control, although fewer cameras today feature such an indicator when they’re in use. 


How Are Security Cameras Hacked?

Password theft is among the most common forms of home security camera system infiltration. 

This could be accomplished through your camera or wireless router. Adding password managers can help decrease these risks. Regularly changing passwords, both to your Wi-Fi router and home security system helps, as well. 

Credential Stuffing

Hackers regularly collect exposed login information from data breaches.

For example, let’s say you use the same—or similar—user name/password combination on multiple websites.

Utilizing software programs, hackers can stuff or cross-reference those same credentials into a login page of an online shopping or dating website you frequently use, unlocking these and other accounts sharing those combos. 

Credential Cracking

This is an automated attack on passwords and PINs processed through all possible combinations of characters in a specific sequence. 

Similar to credential stuffing, this occurs through leaked or commonly used login information. Think of a password such as “ABC123.” Hacker software exposes this through brute forcing or mutating values. 

Credential cracking can be curbed by setting your system to lock up after several failed login attempts. However, this will only work if the hacker makes multiple tries to break your username/password combination.


Types of Attacks

Remote Attacks

More typical for a homeowner, a remote attack entails a hacker locating a network vulnerability to gain entry.

Your security camera’s online video feed could fall victim to the aforementioned credential stuffing, for instance, if your camera and router have shared passwords linked to a previous data breach.

Factory-provided default camera and router passwords provide easy access for hackers to circumvent any network security measures you may have implemented. Again, it’s recommended you use a unique password that’s updated frequently.

Local Attacks

In a commercial setting, a local attack requires the hacker to be on premises in the CCTV camera cluster’s main control room, to access your video feed and view its digital video recorder (DVR) footage. This is highly coveted, and CCTV signals aren’t open to outside receivers since they’re typically used for public safety or government entities. 

Homeowners could install a CCTV system if they have a larger property requiring more than five cameras or a more sophisticated setup.

However, a hacker can spoof the consumer’s router with a duplicate wireless signal and IP address indicating a trusted host. Thinking it’s safe, the consumer connects by default. 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

Hackers also like to infect connected devices by hijacking them for use in a botnet environment. Aimed at slowing down your camera’s functionality, connectivity, and power, a DDoS attack cripples online service by crowding it with traffic from various other sources. 

This is usually through already damaged software. DDoS also targets other devices, such as home PCs, printers, and DVRs. 


How to Prevent Your Home Security System from Being Hacked

There’s never a guarantee your home security cameras won’t get hacked. However, some measures can diminish your chances. Securing your wireless network and router should be a top priority if you're running wireless security cameras. 

Password Protection

It’s unwise to reuse the same passwords for various devices. Many remote hacks occur when attackers search for already breached passwords reused on multiple sites. 

Passwords should be changed frequently.

If you can’t remember to do this, install a Password Manager to maintain auto logins for everything. This stores several passwords and encodes your full database for a unique, master password.

Update & Authenticate

If you're using accompanying security camera apps for remote monitoring, they should be set to auto-update. This ensures app stability, security, and bug fixes. 

Adding two-factor authentication makes it difficult for intruders to gain system access. This provides an extra step to confirm the user’s identity with more than a password. 

The second element could be adding a unique passcode delivered to your mobile device.

Anti-Jamming Devices

Many hackers use signal-blocking devices called jammers to lessen wireless radio frequency signals. These can keep intruders out. However, many hackers use them transversely to remotely disarm a wireless security system.

Anti-jamming devices alert about signal blockages and failures, or system compromises. 

Other Home Security System Protocols

While there are several types available with different strength levels, some security cameras—and accompanying wireless routers—still have default Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

It's recommended you use a security camera with stronger levels, such as WPA2 or WPA3, as outlined below.


The current standard since 2006, WPA2 replaces the outdated and less effective WEP, providing stronger authentication. 

Unlike the original WPA, it requires a longer password for an extra layer of protection. It’s also important to note that WPA2—unlike WEP or WPA—doesn’t use security-limited Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP).


In June 2018, the nonprofit Wi-Fi Alliance announced Wi-Fi Certified WPA3. This raised WPA2 to the next security level, with added authentication and cryptographic strength when transferring highly sensitive data, such as login information. 

According to the group, WPA3 is a more “resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations.” 

It also provides Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE). This protects users from actions, such as password guessing by hackers—also known as the aforementioned credential stuffing

Lastly, for all their added benefits, wireless security cameras will rarely be more hacker-proof than wired ones. While convenient, they are much more vulnerable to security system hackers. 

Consult a Home Security Professional

While there’s never a guarantee your security camera system won’t be hacked, the aforementioned precautions lessen your chances. It’s important to work with a security service provider that can provide technologically advanced solutions, especially as attacks become more sophisticated and frequent.

It’s worth noting that since home security providers are immersed in the industry, it’s their business to know the most up-to-date methods for blocking unauthorized access to your security cameras. Reputable providers don’t want to give you vulnerable hardware, which is why enlisting a seasoned home security provider comes with an added peace of mind you don’t get with DIY home security installments

In other words, as long as your apps and devices remain updated and you abide by the other home security practices mentioned above, you’ll reduce the chances of unwanted breaches.

General Security provides the most technologically advanced, reliable, and feature-rich security systems, giving consumers and business owners peace of mind they’re deploying an effective system to best combat unauthorized access. Contact us today to request a quote.