What are the cybersecurity risks with video surveillance?

Cybersecurity is a concern for businesses in every sector, of every size, and in every location. While everyone agrees that it is important, it is often one of the first items to be pushed back on the budget agenda. It is easy to think that a cybersecurity event won’t happen to you, or that you have safety practices in motion, but cybersecurity is a moving target, and it needs to be revisited regularly. As the number of our internet-connected devices increases, the potential for a cybersecurity breach grows. Email phishing scams are no longer the biggest threat to our proprietary data, understating the Internet of Things (IoT) is the only way to identify vulnerabilities and implement safe practices.

The Internet of Things?

The internet of things is any system of devices that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, or any technology that can connect or exchange data with other devices. Sounds like pretty much everything in your home and office, right? Yes. So how does this tie in with video surveillance?

Video surveillance is an “Internet of Things” system that many don’t consider when reviewing their cybersecurity practices.

The Evolution of Video Surveillance

Old school CCTV or video cameras originally were not connected to the internet or accessible remotely. If you wanted to review video footage, you had to pull it directly from the storage of the camera or the hardwired storage drive it was stored on, which was costly and time consuming. If someone wanted to steal or delete footage off a security camera, they would have needed to steal the camera or hardwired storage device entirely to do so.

Surveillance cameras have come a long way since the original CCTV models. As the cloud entered our daily lives, the cameras and sensors we use have evolved as well. While this has increased our ability to protect our businesses and employees, it has also opened the door to a new cybersecurity threat.

Most video surveillance cameras are connected to the internet now, meaning all recorded or live footage is accessible remotely if you have access to them. Some of the older models of these internet connected cameras lack encryption or cybersecurity components that prevent unwanted access.PhotoStock_Video-Wall_Operators_Federal_GettyImages-169263598

Cybersecurity Threats to Your Video Surveillance System

The most common cause of cyber breaches is human error or a lapse in protocol. These errors can be accidental or deliberate, but it is important to educate your personnel regularly on how to properly utilize the devices on your network. Weak, reused, or infrequently changed passwords are one of the top vulnerabilities we see when a cyber breach occurs. The more devices you have on a network, the higher the chances of a cyber event.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a threat as it can be used to impersonate a legitimate user on a network. AI can learn the network behavior, allowing a cybercriminal to develop malware or phishing scams to push users to open the door for them. On the other side of the coin, AI can be used to prevent these cybersecurity events but detecting and notifying employees of a potential breach.

Protecting Your Video Surveillance System

The number one way to protect your video surveillance system from cybersecurity threats is to be proactive with maintenance. Lifecycle management should be a top priority, meaning older legacy devices should be replaced with newer models as recommended by the manufacturer. All your devices should also be up to date with any software updates released by the manufacturer.

Education is another key prevention strategy to keep your network secure. Any personnel on your staff who will be using the devices must understand industry best practices. New hires should be briefed before they begin working so that everyone is always on the same page. Protocols for password change frequency, cyber breach detection, and device lifecycle management should be communicated and updated on a regular basis. This prevents cybercriminals from gaining access to your network due to human error.

If you have any questions about your video surveillance system, or would like help updating your legacy devices, reach out to us at or call 763-475-5500.

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