Home security cameras have been a sigh of relief for many who weren’t previously able to remotely monitor their homes. But, it seems like these very devices that are meant to help with security could prove to be counterproductive. A new study published recently suggests that some home security cameras could allow burglars to guess when residents move out of the house.
The study, carried out by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Chinese Academy of Science, found that they could tell if someone was in the house without even looking at the video footage of the home security camera. They could discern this by just looking at the data uploaded by the camera.
Home security cameras help with remote monitoring and hence transmit data over the internet. According to the researchers (via CNN), the data uploads of the unencrypted data increases when the camera is recording something moving. In fact, by studying patterns an attacker could even figure out different types of motion such as running or sitting.
If such data is captured over a longer period of time, attackers could even make out patterns and figure out when residents would most likely move out of the house and plan a burglary accordingly.
But according to the researchers, in order to capture such information, a burglar would require a decent level of technical knowledge. Although, this doesn’t stop anyone who has the relevant technical skills to develop a program and sell it in the market which would then make it possible for anyone – even without the technical knowledge – to snoop.
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But the researchers haven’t seen any direct evidence of this kind of attack taking place yet.
For the study, the researchers made use of data provided by a large Chinese manufacturer of Internet Protocol security cameras. While the devices of popular brands such as Xiaomi and Nest haven’t been used for the study, the researchers believe that they also present the same privacy risk.
In order to reduce this privacy risk, the study says that the companies could randomly inject data into their systems to make it harder for patterns to be spotted,