Protecting Your Security Camera Hardware
Cameras are the main hardware components in any video surveillance system. They are the star of the show, and protecting your security cameras should be job one when it comes to safeguarding the tangible assets in your system. Both physical security and data security must be prioritized.
Because video cameras are often placed outside, they will always be vulnerable to vandalism, damage, and theft to some degree. Fortunately various strategies — including Tamper Detection, Vandal Resistance, and Torx Screw mounting — have to deter and prevent such problems whether they are located inside or outdoors.
The same can be said for data security. The more priority that is placed on preventing malicious actors from exploiting or damaging a device — through methods such as Encryption at Rest, Firmware Signing, and reliable Solid State Storage — the more secure your data and video footage will be.
Jump to each section to learn more:
• Security Features to Look for in Camera Hardware
• How do you protect your security camera hardware from hackers?
• Where is the best place to put security cameras?
• What is a vandal resistant camera?
• What is camera tampering? Can CCTV be tampered with?
• How can I protect my security camera from vandalism of being stolen?
• What is a vandal resistant camera?
• Is SSD good for video surveillance? Can I use SSD in CCTV?
Security Features that Protect Camera Hardware:
- Tamper Detection: Though it doesn’t happen often, people occasionally tamper with, vandalize, or steal security cameras. The risk surfaces in two main forms: physical damage to valuable property and potential loss of footage or other data. To mitigate both of these concerns, there are effective strategies that include using strong materials, robust mounting systems, and proactive technology.
On the tech side, intelligent Tamper Detection features are one increasingly popular method to protect cameras. By automatically recognizing when someone is tampering with a camera, the device can initiate a backup process to the cloud that, in the best circumstance, preserves real-time footage of the incident and helps ensure the perpetrator is caught in the act. Some Temper Detection tools can also send an instant alert to the user, through email or text message, to notify them of the problem in real time.
- Vandal Resistance (IK10 Rating): Every camera has an individual ability to withstand physical shocks. Known as Vandal Resistance Rating, this formal international standard is measured with an IK number that signifies how well it can stand up to external mechanical impacts. The scale runs from IK00 for hardware that has no protection to IK10 for cameras that can take the beating of a 20 joule impact — the equivalent a of 5 kg weight being dropped from 400 mm (about 1.3 feet).
A leading “vandal-proof camera” must have a IK10 rating — which is actually twice as high as IK09 (which signifies the ability to withstand a 10 joule impact, or 5 kg dropped from 200 mm). This top-tier IK10 rating is also four times higher than IK08 (5 joule impact, or 1.7 kg dropped from 300 mm), 20 times higher than IK06 (1 joule impact, or 0.25 kg dropped from 400 mm), and 100 times higher than IK02 (0.2 joule impact, or 0.25 kg dropped from 56 mm).
- Torx Screws: Beyond tampering with or trying to break your device, some perpetrators could even try to steal a security camera. The best practice solution in this case is also two-fold: data security through encryption and strong physical protection. This second goal is commonly achieved with the use of Torx Screws, an industry-leading attachment method that dramatically reduces the risk of anyone ever getting the camera off of its mount. Used in a wide range of mechanical applications — from cars and motorcycles to construction and electronics — six-point-star-shaped Torx Screws come in various levels of security and are the widely considered the hallmark of tamper-resistant attachment.
- Encryption at Rest: Because nothing is foolproof, Encryption at Rest adds an additional layer of protection to all data — including video footage stored on a security camera. Encryption is necessary to safeguard any stored information in the event that a perpetrator does manage to steal a device. No matter who gets the camera, how they got it, or when they try to access it, the data will be impossible to access by anyone without the encryption keys. The final thing to keep in mind is that Encryption at Rest can use various encryption standards, including RSA, AES, or PKI.
- Firmware Signing: Most modern devices — from cameras to laptops to servers — contain firmware. While this helps the device operate optimally and allows for ongoing updates to expand capabilities, it also represents a point of vulnerability. Hackers can potentially attack firmware with malware and exploits that could compromise a system. This is why manufacturers and providers must make proactive firmware security essential. Firmware signing — including concepts such as key signing and signature checking — are critical because they ensure that nobody except for authorized users can run code on any camera.
- Solid State Storage: Many leading security cameras now offer onboard video storage. By including large hard drives, the device retains footage and data rather than bogging down network resources with constant transmission. While traditional, spinning hard drives are still widespread, Solid State storage has arrived and in many ways presents the best local storage option on the market, including certain data security advantages. One major benefit of Solid State Drives (SSDs) is that they lack the moving parts of a traditional drive, which makes them much more durable to shocks and vibrations. Ultimately, this means they are less prone to failure and losing data. This also makes SSDs much faster and more efficient while improving reliability and extending life expectancy.
Security Camera Hardware FAQs
How do you protect your security camera hardware from hackers?
There are a wide range of strategies that you can employ to protect security cameras from hackers. Most preventative measures will fall into either physical or data security categories. Physical security forces you to ask questions ranging from “how durable is the device?” to “how is it mounted?” to “where is the best place to put security cameras?” For its part, data security will focus more on factors like access control, encryption at rest, and firmware signing.
Where is the best place to put security cameras?
There is no single best place to put security cameras. The ideal location will optimize their utility by giving you the widest, most complete view of the facility without over-exposing the device to damage or theft. Placement decisions will also depend upon how many cameras you have in the system and how much coverage you need.
What is a vandal resistant camera?
A vandal resistant camera, or a vandal proof camera, is a device that has an IK10 rating on the the international Vandal Resistance Rating standard. This globally recognized rating means that the camera can withstand a 20 joule impact, which is the equivalent a of 5 kg weight being dropped from 400 mm (about 1.3 feet). The scale ranges from IK00 (no protection) up to IK10, with the top level being the only one truly considered a “vandal proof camera.”
What is camera tampering? Can CCTV be tampered with?
Camera tampering is when a perpetrator attempts to access, damage, otherwise vandalize, or steal a device. While this isn’t a common occurrence, it does happen and CCTV cameras are sometimes tampered with.
How can I protect my security camera from vandalism of being stolen?
The best prevention methods to protect a security camera from vandalism is to use a device with an IK10 Vandal Resistance Rating that is mounted as securely as possible in a safe location. While various methods can be employed successfully, Torx Screw mounts have become an industry standard for a reason: They work very well. Mounting considerations will also depend upon placement. The best outdoor security camera system is probably one with an IK10 rating and mounted as securely as possible, but these factors may be less important for an indoor system within a highly protected building.
Is SSD good for video surveillance? Can I use SSD in CCTV?
Onboard storage is an increasingly popular feature on modern IP security cameras, and many use a combination of Solid State Drive (SSD) and cloud-based storage as backup. Because it has no moving parts — like a traditional spinning hard drive — it is more efficient, faster, and less prone to failure. SSDs are also usually more compact and allow for more storage capacity in a smaller device.