Home Security Cameras Can Be Hacked. Various hackers around the world have found a new hobby. Recently, there has been a rise in “Swatting Attacks,” which have seen hackers take advantage of the notoriously weak or nonexistent security in “smart” devices built for home use. Hackers do this so they can call the police on you and then watch you and the emergency responders through your home security cameras.
This particular type of Home Security Camera hacked gets its name from Special Weapon and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) law enforcement teams. Still, hackers will happily substitute other emergency services personnel for their amusement.
The attack works like this:
A hacker will prank call emergency services local to a camera they’ve hacked into inside someone’s home, with the aim being to generate a response to that individual’s residence. The exact nature of the prank call is all in the hacker’s imagination, but it could be anything from illegal aliens to drug operations to domestic abuse. It’s always something highly provocative, though, which increases the chance of a response.
Naturally, the homeowners have no idea about the placement of the call or emergency responders are en route, so they have a complete surprise when armed officers show up suddenly at their house. To say that it creates a tense situation is an understatement. It makes an absolute powder keg, and there’s a genuine risk that someone could get hurt due to the dangerous game the hackers are playing.
The problem got bad enough that the F.B.I. recently issued a bulletin about it as a warning. Although launching this kind of attack is a criminal offense, it can be a notoriously tricky case to prove, assuming it was a reasonably competent hacker.
2020 has been a spectacularly bad, difficult year, and the rise in this kind of attack certainly isn’t helping to make it any better. Suppose you have smart cameras in your home. In that case, your first line of defense against Swatting Attacks is to secure those devices as best you can, or disable them unless they’re critical so you don’t wind up being the latest episode of reality T.V. for the hackers who do this sort of thing.