How many people put a sticky note on their laptop webcams because they're worried about someone spying on them? Hackers voices that access webcams and USB microphones are always present in today's technology world, but it's even worse when the manufacturer responsible for a connected camera is the only video that loses you.
As described in a recent report by The Intercept, the Amazon Ring security cameras have archived unencrypted video recordings of both external and internal cameras. Ring has also hired people to watch these potentially sensitive videos and tag their content to help in the "machine learning" capabilities of its virtual neighborhood surveillance network, "Neighbors".
Even more frustrating is the fact that these videos could have been shared and distributed to anyone with a simple copy and paste. And those who have access to the Ring database just need to know a user's e-mail address to tap into a live feed of everything they saw cameras.
According to a statement provided by Ring to The Intercept, "These videos come exclusively from Ring video public shares from the Neighbors app (in accordance with our terms of service) and from a small portion of Ring users who have provided their explicit written consent to allow us to access and use their videos for such purposes. "
this is a great reminder of the fact that this type of security surveillance cameras, designed to keep our homes secure, involve serious privacy implications.
Are there privacy tips for cameras connected to the cloud?
In these cases, it is not possible to do much to protect strangers who access the camera feed connected to the cloud. Apart from the removal of cloud-based cameras and surveillance devices from home, there is no safe way to configure them as inaccessible by the company that controls the cloud service. You simply have to believe that those who safeguard your data are doing the right thing, just as you would with Google, Facebook, Uber and the lot.
If the unencrypted data is collected by a company, the company has theoretically access to any content containing such data. Even if a company prevents its staff from viewing the feeds of their customers' cameras, there is always a potential that hackers, or the government, can find.
Pretend the microphones are turned on and the cameras roll
If you still want to take advantage of a cloud-connected camera to keep your home safe while you're away, it's best to cover all the cameras, the microphones and similar devices as if someone could watch or listen. It is probable that at some point someone is probably ̵
While the same could be said for what you say in front of your smart speakers, or the webcam perched on your computer monitor, it is up to you to draw the line for where you are willing to exchange convenience for privacy. I would not be so worried if someone knew what I shouted to Alexa, but I probably would not install a nest in front of the bathroom.
In case of doubt, take it back
It might seem paranoid, but if you're always suspicious of a device, you should turn it off, unplug it or otherwise disable it. Put some adhesive tape or sticky notes on your webcam. Turn off smart devices when you're not using them (or at least turn off the microphones). Disconnect USB microphones when you do not need them. Disconnect from unfamiliar wifi networks. Configure user settings to share as little data as possible. Do not store sensitive data on unprotected cloud units. The more openings you create in your privacy wall, the greater the potential for abuse.
Not all cameras in your home are compromised and some companies do their best to ensure their users' peace of mind, including encryption of data, being overly transparent on how the data is stored or used or does not collect data in the first place.
For example, Facebook, despite being known for the use of user data to sell ads-was imminent about what its new video chat devices of Portal with Alexa technology do with your video data. Of course, there is always a potential for fine print, PR rotation and / or loopholes when such promises are made, but in the case of Amazon ring cameras such promises have not been provided. You may have to dig to find what a company is doing or is not doing with your data, but it's worth investigating.
Host your security camera
The appeal of products such as Nest or Amazon Ring cameras is their convenience, convenience and simplicity. It's easy to configure them, you can connect them to other devices in your home without problems, and someone else stores all your data for you. If you do not mind a bit of legwork, you can set up your system and make sure no one outside of you has access to your video or feeds.
Before proceeding, make sure your future installation is legal requirements. As for the network itself, you need to create your own cameras and security devices using Arduino or Raspberry Pi minicomputers or purchase cameras that can download their recordings on a home server or an SD card. You'll also need to connect your home and install these devices yourself, as well as configure your hard drive or server to store video recordings. Finally, we recommend that you review the open source software that can help you, even if you also want to check what you are installing, or read the comments of others, to make sure that the software itself does not contain some unpleasant backdoors to your system.