Arlo Technologies creates wireless security cameras that help home and business owners ensure their property is safe and protected at all times. But are the cameras themselves safe from hacking?
It is possible to hack Arlo security cameras, particularly the wireless models like the Pro 3 and 4 and the Ultra 2. This is because the device must be connected to the Wi-Fi to function. Luckily, precautions such as creating complex passwords and using two-factor authentication can help protect your system.
Security camera hacking is a significant risk that leaves your property and its inhabitants vulnerable. Read on to learn how hackers are most likely to gain access to your Arlo security cameras and what you can do to prevent this.
Is It Easy to Hack an Arlo Camera?
Arlo is an exceptional brand with some of the most popular and efficient security cameras that have received high praise, particularly the Arlo Pro 4.
In addition to their reputation, many home and business owners will opt for an Arlo camera because of one specific feature; they’re wireless. Unfortunately, the feature that is possibly most desired by consumers is also the reason why Arlo security cameras are hackable.
Because these security cameras are wireless, they must communicate with a base station connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. This is one of the easiest ways for hackers to access your camera if they can somehow get into your Wi-Fi account.
If the overall security on your Wi-Fi account is weak, such as using simple passwords and usernames, then hackers can easily exploit this and gain access to your cameras, along with other devices connected to the account.
But this isn’t the only way people can hack your Arlo cameras.
Common Ways Arlo Cameras Are Hacked
Gaining access to your Wi-Fi account is probably the easiest and most common way hackers can get into your Arlo cameras, but if this doesn’t work, there are alternatives they might try.
Hacking Your Arlo Account
In modern technology, it has become extremely common for consumers to have to make separate accounts for their electronic gadgets through the supplier. Arlo is no exception.
Once you have obtained your Arlo cameras, you’ll need to set up an Arlo account before you can start using it, especially if you have a camera with Smart features so it can connect to your phone.
Because it’s your camera the hacker wants, hacking your Arlo account is the first step they will take, and sometimes, it’s even easier than tapping into your home’s Wi-Fi.
However, the process is ultimately the same. All the hacker has to do is spam your login details until they can find your account password and username to log in. The fact that the Arlo cameras are on an open-source forum makes this easier than wired options.
Once the hacker has compromised your device, they can change your account information, effectively preventing you from logging in yourself.
Hacking the Wireless Router
This approach is arguably the most dangerous, not just to your Arlo cameras but any electronics in your home and the personal information they hold.
Although your Wi-Fi is certainly a concern with hackers, if they gain access to your wireless router, not only will they be able to compromise your Arlo cameras, but anything else connected to the router as well.
In addition to guessing your router’s password, which is made easier if you’ve kept the default password, hackers can also gain access by exploiting security flaws within the router’s firmware.
It is far less common for router firmware to be updated than other devices, which means hackers can more easily exploit issues within the system. A study by The American Consumer Institute (ACI) showed that 83% of home Wi-Fi routers are vulnerable to hacking for this reason.
After the hacker has gained access, they’ll proceed to change your passwords and create other obstacles to prevent you from logging in to your account while they leech your personal information.
This tactic isn’t as common as the ones previously mentioned because it requires the hacker to have physical contact with your home router. Nevertheless, it does happen.
To achieve this, the hacker will connect to a router’s hardware serial communication bus, the Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter (UART).
The UART will give the hacker access to the router’s bootloader and operating system logs if they can successfully connect to the bus by exploiting the UART’s insufficient protection mechanism. The more outdated the system, the easier it is to hack.
They would need to physically connect to the UART port and enter the correct default credentials to access the router and, consequently, your Arlo cameras. If they do this successfully, they could alter your login information, change system settings, or disarm your cameras completely.
Does This Make Arlo Cameras Unreliable?
Not exactly. There is certainly a risk with using Arlo cameras due to their wireless construction and necessity for a base station. However, this risk is evident in nearly all security camera companies.
ADT is one of the best security companies in America, and even they had an incident not too long ago where a technician hacked hundreds of customers over several years before they were caught.
Companies like Arlo take their product’s security very seriously, which is why they have several features in place to prevent unauthorized personnel from hacking your cameras and personal information.
These features include:
- Create a separate Wi-Fi network for the cameras and base station so they aren’t on your home’s shared network.
- AES 128-bit encryption and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protects your camera video and information
- Safe Harbor certification
- Arlo devices meet strict European Union privacy requirements
- Account has strict password requirements
- Maximum of five login attempts before the account is locked
- Account authentication over a secure HTTPS connection prevents eavesdropping
These features alone will go a long way in ensuring your Arlo cameras are safe and secure from hackers, but there are some things you can do as well.
How to Protect Your Arlo Camera from Hacking
Arlo gives security camera owners a great head-start with their security features, but many cameras are hacked because the everyday person could have prevented themselves. Utilize these easy tips to make sure you don’t fall victim to hackers for simple reasons.
Create Complex and Unique Passwords
Possibly the most common mistake people make with passwords, in general, is that they’ll either leave the default password provided by the company, or they’ll use the same password for nearly all their devices.
You want your Arlo account, Wi-Fi account, and router to all have complex and unique passwords to deter hackers from attempting to gain access.
More likely than not, a hacker will leave your home for an easier target if they notice it is even slightly challenging for them to obtain the password for any of these devices.
The best passwords are the ones that are completely random, such as random numbers and letters. They might be difficult to remember initially, but they’ll be even more impossible for a hacker to guess or find.
Just make sure that you don’t use the same password for more than one device.
Once a hacker can get into one account, they’re likely to test their luck at logging in to others with the same information in pursuit of more personal and detrimental information, like credit cards and identity or financial data.
Set Two-Factor Authentication for Everything
The purpose of security cameras is to make sure your property is safe, so don’t make them vulnerable by leave a one-and-done login system in place for hackers to exploit.
A great way to deter hackers is to add a two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication system to pose an additional challenge.
As we stated before, hackers will pick easy targets, and if your system has too many obstacles, they’re less likely to waste their time on it.
This system entails that after a user logs in successfully once, they then have to authenticate who they are in another way that typically involves a separate device or account.
Some common examples are verification codes sent to cell phones or confirmation links sent to emails.
To overcome this extra security measure, the hacker would either have to gain access to the second device, or they would have to hack their way into an additional account and hope it has the same login information (which, again, is why you should always have unique passwords).
Keep Your Devices Consistently Updated
Apart from guessing your username and password, hackers commonly gain access to devices by exploiting their weaknesses. These weaknesses are often a result of the device running on old software from lack of updates.
If you want to ensure your Arlo cameras are truly safe, make sure they are consistently updated and running on the latest software. You’ll want to use the precaution for your Wi-Fi and routers as well.
Some devices will allow you to use a feature that will automatically update your software whenever a new model is available.
You can also opt for notifications, either through text or email, from the company that will alert you when new software has been released that should be applied to your devices.
Can arlo cameras be hacked? Final Thoughts
Although Arlo security cameras are at risk of being hacked, the odds of this occurring are slim, especially if you, as the owner, take the necessary precautions to guarantee its security.
Remember that your Arlo camera’s safety relies on the devices it is connected to as well, namely your Wi-Fi and router. Therefore, all of your precautions must also extend to them to ensure your Arlo camera can do what it was made to do, protect your home.