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I have an IP camera at home that we mainly use as a baby monitor. The live video can be accessed using a client/app on my phone or a web interface on the browser.

  • I know nothing about the way/protocol that is being used to transmit the video and if it's encrypted or not.
  • I worry that someone can hack the web interface since it exposed to the entire world.

Is it a good idea to restrict the access to the camera except from the local network and instead use a VPN client to connect to my home router?

  • As long as you can password protect the camera too, since having access to your network would mean having access to the camera. – Samuel Shifterovich Oct 16 '16 at 12:35
  • I would make sure that I took the standard precautions for enabling VPN access (use a strong password, make sure the router is using a login try throttling or lockout policy, perhaps use Google to see if there are any known & unpatched vulnerabilities out there), but yes, absolutely. The terrible general reputation for security that IP cameras have is deserved. – mostlyinformed Oct 16 '16 at 20:27
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IOT devices including baby monitors are infamous for a lot of security issues. Majority of them even allows an unrestricted, unauthenticated access to the camera feed if you port forward it through the router [And surprisingly, they advice you to IP forward them as well!].

I agree with your concerns and believe that it would be a very good idea to restrict access to the device from any other network other than the local network. Even if the interface is password protected, they are likely to have authentication flaws as these devices infamous for such flaws.

Have a look at the Shodan database nd you will get an idea how many of these devices have known back-doors and default accounts enabled. From shodan you can even see a lot of such accessible cameras! Creepy, isn't it?

https://www.shodan.io/explore

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