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What are the risks that we allow security camera made in China to access our modem/router (all in one)? We granted the camera on Guest network which is the only thing we have it on. Our laptops, phones, tablets are connected to the main wifi.

Can they hack into the main wifi from the Guest network? If so, how can we configure to prevent that?

On the main wifi, I enabled "allow only certain MAC addresses"

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    Why is the origin of the manufacturer relevant to this question? If you fear that the camera can do harm because of this origin - then why do you want to use it in the first place? If you fear that the camera is just inherently insecure because the vendor does not care enough then note that not only China can produce insecure cameras. And please note that such cameras not only present a risk for your network but can be used in botnets to attack other systems on the internet. Also, if your router is hackable by the camera also depends on the (in)security of the router and its configuration. – Steffen Ullrich Aug 2 at 17:49
  • No need to be overly sensitive. That was meant to be just the fact. I can also name name the brand of my router as well - it's also the fact and not a shaming to the brand. It's motorola. Looking for someone who can answer the question and not having to debate over non-related issues. – Security777 Aug 2 at 18:03
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    The intent of my comment was to get more details of what you actually ask about. The phrase "can they hack into ..." could be interpreted as someone ("they") taking over an insecure device and then attacking the router. But since your explicitly name the country of origin it might also be interpreted as China ("they") shipping these devices with a government-sanctioned backdoor already included which would make it easier to misuse the device. And if you fear the latter it is really hard for me to understand why you want to use the device in the first place. – Steffen Ullrich Aug 2 at 18:10
  • For a moment, consider that the camera is just a little computer. So, if we remove the fact that it's a camera and replace it with "someone with a computer", then the question is "can someone with a computer hack into my main wifi from the guest wifi?" Separating the wifi networks is supposed to prevent that, so, there would either have to be a vulnerability in the router or a very weak password on the main wifi. – schroeder Aug 3 at 20:13
  • Thanks Schroeder for the most making sense answer. – Security777 Aug 5 at 1:11
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The general risk of having a potentially insecure device in your network is that it might be used to attack other systems - both inside and outside the network. While you specifically ask for devices from China this risk depends not so much on the origin of the device1 but on the security. And the cheaper a device is, the more likely is that the vendor did not invest much time into properly securing the system. And yes, most cheap devices probably come from Chinese vendors, are produced in China or have at least Chinese hardware and/or firmware inside.

Given that you have your insecure device in the guest network and assuming that the guest network of your router provides proper isolation to the network where you have your other devices, then there is little risk that the insecure device can directly attack your important devices.

And most routers with guest network neither provide access to the router configuration directly from the guest network nor indirectly via internet. But some routers might do or might be configurable to do so. Which means you need to check what your specific router model and firmware version and your specific configuration of the router provides (just saying that the vendor is "Motorola" does not provide enough detail to determine this). If the insecure device can attack the router then this will be trouble for your important devices too, because the router usually provides DNS service for these device and attacks against the router like DNSChanger will therefore harm all devices behind the router.

Apart from that the insecure device might be hacked and misused as part of a botnet - as in case of Mirai. Such a botnet is then used to deliver spam and phishing mails, mount DDoS attacks and infect more systems. While this might not directly impact you, it will impact others. It might also result in your ISP tracking such malicious activity back to your account and limiting your internet access in order to reduce the harm coming from its own network.

In summary: make sure you get your devices (camera, router, ...) from a vendor with an established good security record and who provides quick and ideally automatic updates in case of security problems for all the years such a device will be used. This kind of requirement usually excludes the cheaper vendors but does not automatically include the more expensive vendors.


1 One might argue about explicit government-mandated backdoors in devices from specific countries. I don't believe that these exist in most devices since too much trust would be lost if they get detected. And they are usually not needed anyway since these devices usually have enough inadvertent bugs inside which can be used for hacking.

  • In the case of consumer security cameras, I'm not sure government-mandated backdoors would be noticed amidst the generally awful security... (Even some professional, extremely high-end WiFi security cameras are shockingly poorly made.) – Nic Hartley Aug 2 at 19:54
  • @NicHartley: The more widely a backdoor is spread the more likely is that somebody will just more or less accidentally or out of curiosity stumble over it. See for example From China, With Love. – Steffen Ullrich Aug 2 at 20:08
  • Yes, like they have with the dozens of current security flaws in many types of current security cameras. See e.g. this talk. The joke/point I was making was that even if China did insert a backdoor, there are already so many flaws that no one would care. – Nic Hartley Aug 2 at 20:11

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