If you have a security cam, take these essential steps

Jun 6, 2021, 5:00 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Back in the day, keeping an eye on your home from afar meant spending a fortune on professional installation and a monthly monitoring contract.

Today, you can order and install a few cameras, a smart doorbell, or a full-blown security system on your own.

Before you buy the cheapest option you can find on Amazon, take a pause. Those five-star reviews might not be legitimate. Tap or click for a tool that can help you spot fake reviews.

Fake is one thing, but some home security tech just isn’t up to snuff, like these five video doorbells that failed security tests. Yikes.

Securing your cameras isn’t difficult once you know what to do. First on the list? Good old two-factor authentication.

1. Enable an extra layer of protection

Two-factor authentication used to be a nice security bonus. Today, it’s mandatory for countless sensitive accounts. If your home security system doesn’t use 2FA, you might want to start shopping.

As a quick refresher, two-factor authentication or 2FA is a second layer of security on your accounts that requires you to put in a code — generally sent via text or email — to finish logging in on any new device, browser or system. Tap or click here for a crash course in 2FA.

Once you’ve got 2FA enabled, dig into the settings for your specific setup. Most cameras and more comprehensive systems have several measures in place to keep your feeds for your eyes only.

Then you need to consider the bigger picture. How secure is your router? If you haven’t adjusted its settings recently, I bet you have a few to change. Here are the must-do steps:

● Keep your software and firmware up to date.

● Enable a firewall.

● Turn off remote access.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I’ll walk you through it. Tap or click here to get step-by-step directions on how to secure your router.

2. Bad passwords won’t cut it

Unique, strong passwords are important for every account you create, but take special care with the ones associated with anything that provides a view right into your home.

Don’t make the mistake of using whatever you choose for other accounts, too. If you reuse the same login information, hackers only need to breach one site and they’ll have access to all of your accounts.

Do I even need to tell you to stop choosing passwords that are easy to guess? Avoid using any of these:

● Important names, including your spouse, kids, grandkids, parents, and pets.

● Your birthday, anniversary, kids’ birthdays, house number, or phone number. That applies to your old house numbers and phone numbers, too.

● Your high school mascot, mother’s maiden name, hometown, favorite sports team, or any other obvious fact.

Pro tip: Come up with a phrase that only you can remember.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your favorite baseball team is the Cubs. If you’re a Cubs fan, there’s no way you’d forget their stunning World Series victory in 2016. So, to remember your code, take the phrase “Cubs won the World Series in 2016” and abbreviate it to “cwtwsi2016.” Substitute some characters and cases, and you’ll have “cwTw$i2016” — a far more complex password that is not only hard to guess but easy for you to remember.

3. Check for updates

Camera manufacturers routinely release firmware and software updates to patch critical bugs and security holes. The problem is that they don’t tell you. It’s up to you to check for updates. If your cameras are too old to receive updates, replace them.

When it comes to updating internet-connected devices, it’s as easy as connecting to the web, checking for updates, and hitting “install.” If your system has a dedicated app, pop in from time to time to check for updates.

Do this regularly. Mark your calendar, ask your smart assistant to set reminders, or leave a note somewhere you’ll see it.

It would be best if you stayed up to date on the latest in hacks and breaches, too. Companies are compromised all the time, and you want to know about it so you can take action to protect yourself. Tap or click here to sign up for my Fraud & Security Alerts newsletter to stay in the know the easy way.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

You can show photos saved to your phone on your TV

If you’re not watching anything, why not display your favorite photos? Here are a few easy ways to get the job done, straight from your phone.
6 days ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Kim Komando

Amazon shoppers need to take these steps during the holidays

The holiday shopping season is a good time to revisit Amazon's security essentials, so you don’t have to worry about spoiling a surprise or putting your privacy at risk.
10 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

Get more life out of your dying phone battery with these tips

When you’re out and about and realize your battery life is low, what can you do?
13 days ago
FILE - The icons of Facebook and WhatsApp are seen on an iPhone in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Nov. 15,...
Kim Komando

If you use Facebook, here are 3 ways to make sure it’s not listening

I have lost count of how many times I’ve been asked, “Are my devices listening?” I will tell you this: They are always listening for the wake word, and tech companies admit smart assistants mishear commands more often than any of us would like. Tap or click to stop your smart assistants from hearing what […]
20 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

5 quick steps to clean up a messy computer, inside and outside

Clutter on your computer can be tough to wrangle, but it's good to get those files cleaned up. And don’t forget to make the outside pristine, too.
27 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

How to digitize your handwritten notes or copy text from a photo

Ever wish you could turn your handwritten notes into something you can search or edit on your computer, phone, or tablet? You can!
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
If you have a security cam, take these essential steps