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The Internet of Things: Security in the

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If you’re in public, you’re on camera. If you walk into a coffee shop, the owner gets you at the register. Visit a larger store, and chances are they have your face as soon as you cross the threshold. At least one or two of your neighbors catch you on camera when you walk around your neighborhood, and many cities monitor traffic using red light cameras at major intersections. The question is no longer if you’re on camera, but rather how many different angles you were caught on while going about your day.

With so much monitoring taking place, and with surveillance systems gaining more online functionality every year, it’s natural that securing these systems would become... complicated. And that many many are secured incorrectly or not at all. Because so many cameras and surveillance systems are completely open, it's possible for anyone with Internet access to watch literally thousands of cameras online using only Google and a kindergartener’s understanding of the 'Net. With a little time and patience, almost any given system, from a set of residential cameras to those used by your local police, can be accessed, viewed, and even reset if not properly secured. Of course, if you can do this, it means that anyone can do it.

Though they are relative newcomers to the surveillance market, IP cameras caught on quickly and are rapidly stealing market share and consumer preference from traditional (analog) cameras. In an analog system, all cameras need to be wired directly back to a central recording system using analog cable (typically RG-59 or RG-6 coaxial). Installation can be a financial and practical nightmare, especially on larger properties where there may be hundreds or even thousands of feet between cameras and their base station.

IP cameras often present an attractive alternative. Using the same basic technology that your computer uses, IP cameras take their own IP addresses and stream video directly onto a network without connecting to a DVR or control platform. Larger systems can integrate multiple IP cameras together using an NVR (network video recorder) that connects to and records multiple cameras at the same time. This capability can cut installation cost by literally thousands of dollars on sites where analog cameras would require long or complex cable runs.