KIM KOMANDO

3 common mistakes made when installing security cameras

Nov 20, 2022, 5:00 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

Security cameras give us peace of mind that our homes and valuables are safe when we’re away. A doorbell camera can be a big deterrent for sneaky thieves.

With the holidays right around the corner, tap or click here for my best advice to keep your packages safe.

They aren’t failsafe, though. Crooks can jam Wi-Fi-connected video doorbells and rob you before you realize what happened. It’s rare but possible. Tap or click for smart ways to stop them in their tracks.

The good news is there are steps you can take to protect the devices that protect you.

1. You cheaped out

We all want to save a buck, but going for the cheapest option is never smart regarding tech. I don’t just mean you’ll miss out on essential features, either. Cheap brands are more likely to cut corners when it comes to security, too.

Here are the features I think are important:

● Audio recording and HD video (you’ll wish you had this in case something happens and you need the footage)
● A privacy shutter that covers the lens when you don’t want the camera filming
● At least seven days of storage
● Regular security and firmware updates

My pick is SimpliSafe, a sponsor of my show. I prefer DIY options that allow you to order what you need online and set it all up yourself without paying for installation or a costly annual contract.

2. You just plugged it in to get it to work

Repeat after me: Default passwords must be changed. This step is vital when it comes to your security system or even just a standalone camera.

There’s no excuse for using a weak password, either. Even if you don’t pay for a password manager, the major browsers have built-in tools that generate and store unique passwords for you.

If you use a password manager, be sure it uses 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication, at the very least.

Another option is to use an online password generator to create something virtually unguessable. You can note this down digitally (not on your desktop!) or even in a paper notebook. Keep this away from your computer.

Tap or click for one of the best free password-generating sites out there.

3. You ignore the updates

You’re used to updating your smartphone and your computer. You need to do the same for the rest of your connected devices.

Updates improve features and usability but, more importantly, often beef up a device’s security. Automatic updates are usually turned on by default, but you should pop in and check now and then to ensure you’re protected.

You can check up on your software version through your device’s app. For example, open the app and go to Account > Firmware Update if you have a Wyze system. Here you can make sure you have the newest software for each device. Otherwise, there’s an Upgrade All option at the bottom.

Bonus mistake: You forgot about your router

Your router settings affect everything connected to your Wi-Fi, including your security cameras. Make sure yours is locked down.

Here are some helpful tips:

● Keep your router updated just as you would any device in your home.
● A good router should have strong encryption. The old standard is Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). Newer devices use the superior WPA3. If it’s been years since you updated your route, take my quick quiz to find the right model for your home.
● A built-in firewall is standard in most routers manufactured in the last decade. You can tweak settings to customize what data goes in and out of your router, but be careful, as you can make things worse. The default setting is good enough for most situations.
● Go into your router settings and disable remote access. It’s not worth leaving it on if you need a tech to look through it. You’ll usually find this setting under Remote Administration.

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.

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