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Thanks to brands like Blink, home security cameras have never been more affordable and accessible. From the convenience of your smartphone, you can receive alerts and watch live footage. But because they rely on wireless communication, can Blink cameras be hacked?
Blink cameras can be hacked if security vulnerabilities are exploited. Fortunately, Blink’s parent company, Amazon, frequently releases firmware updates to keep your devices safe and secure from unauthorized use and hacking.
Hacking is a real threat, but Blink security cameras receive frequent firmware updates designed to minimize exposure.
Blink Camera Security Protocols
Regarding home monitoring products like Blink cameras, Amazon’s top priority is security. Because Blink security systems transmit sensitive information wirelessly, the need for robust security and encryption measures is undeniable.
Blink cameras rely primarily on three security features to protect users:
- WPA2 Wi-Fi Encryption: Blink devices use WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) encryption based on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The AES protects government-level information, so your data is safe.
- Encrypted Video Footage: Blink cameras also encrypt recorded video footage at the source level to protect it from prying eyes. If an unauthorized user were to access a video file somehow, they would not be able to view the footage.
- Encrypted Servers: Blink’s Cloud-based servers also use “military-grade” encryption (in addition to WPA2 and AES wireless protocols). Not even Blink or Amazon employees can access your data or footage.
The combination of these protective measures means that your Blink camera is very secure against the threat of hacking. Amazon actively updates firmware to keep up with evolving threats to keep you safe from criminal activity.
Can Blink Cameras Be Hacked?
As daily headlines demonstrate, living in a digital world means dealing with the ever-present threat of hacking. This applies to all wireless technologies, including Blink cameras. So, exactly how secure are Blink cameras?
In 2019, Tenable Inc., a “Cyber Exposure” company, revealed major security vulnerabilities within Blink cameras (specifically the XT2). Among the identified threats were hackers being able to gain access to:
- Blink video recordings and camera footage
- Live audio from Blink devices
- Hijacked camera control for use in cyber attacks
Following this revelation, Amazon released security updates for all affected devices, quickly resolving the vulnerability.
More recently, a vulnerability in the communication link between Blink devices and a Sync Module has been reported. Hackers can hijack an entire Blink ecosystem by accessing the Sync Module. This would be akin to a car thief already having the keys to the vehicle.
How Can Blink Cameras Be Hacked?
There are two primary ways through which Blink cameras can be hacked: locally and remotely. Here’s how they compare:
The first way attackers can gain control of a Blink camera is through local hacking.
This requires close proximity to the wireless network supporting a Blink monitoring system.
Hackers gain access by exploiting an unprotected network or using equipment like a signal jammer.
Most hacking activity involving Blink cameras occurs remotely.
Hackers do not need to be near your network to attack your system. The most common way hackers can gain unauthorized access to your devices is by illegally obtaining passwords and usernames.
Through a practice known as “credential stuffing,” hackers can access your Blink account using huge databases of stolen credentials. Usernames and passwords are repeatedly entered into the login portal, and through simple trial and error, hackers can eventually get in.
User login credentials can be obtained in a variety of ways, including:
- Data breaches, the largest of which can involve the personal information of millions of affected people
- Email phishing campaigns are specially designed to steal usernames and passwords
- Exploitation of security gaps and data leaks through apps and websites
Once they gain access, hackers can access account and device settings, effectively locking you out of your own Blink system.
Other Security Vulnerabilities
The Tenable report revealed that Blink cameras are vulnerable to multiple security threats. In addition to credential stuffing, Blink cameras have exploitable security vulnerabilities, allowing unauthorized users to access and control the devices directly.
Because many homes now have multiple smart devices connected to the same network, an entire smart home ecosystem could be jeopardized.
By utilizing a hacking concept known as “lateral access” or “lateral movements,” attackers can use one hijacked device to control others.
For instance, one Sync Module can connect up to 10 Blink devices. By gaining access to a single camera, hackers can hijack all of the devices linked to the same hub, such as:
- Smart locks
- Home alarm systems
- Doorbell cameras
- Outdoor cameras
- Baby monitors
How To Know if Your Blink Camera Has Been Hacked
If you have reason to suspect that your Blink camera has been hacked, look for these telltale signs:
|Unusual Device Activity
|What to look for:
LED indicator lights on Blink cameras turn on or blink for no apparent reason Strange noises coming from devices equipped with 2-way audioChanged view settings such as pan, tilt, or zoomDiminished performance from your cameras, including greater latency
|Unusual Account Activity
|What to look for:
Your password or login credentials no longer workUnrecognized or unauthorized login attemptsUnusually high data usage compared to previous billing cycles Your personalized settings have been changed
If you observe one or more of these signs, the security of your Blink camera system may have been compromised.
But remember that there may be other explanations for unusual activity that have nothing to do with hacking. For instance:
- Audio issues can be caused by poor internet connectivity or improper placement of devices. Quick fixes include rebooting your router or relocating the Sync Module.
- Latency issues are commonly associated with slow or unstable internet service. Power cycling the router can help, but you may need to upgrade the internet speed with your provider.
- An authorized user may have unwittingly changed an account setting. This can explain unusual account activity.
Tips to Prevent Hackers From Accessing Your Blink Cameras
Fortunately, you can take a proactive role in protecting your Blink home monitoring system from bad actors. These essential tips can help ensure your Blink devices are consistently safe and protected.
Keep Firmware Up To Date
Amazon is known for quickly resolving cyber threats and patching exploitable security vulnerabilities. They can respond quickly with firmware updates designed to keep your devices safe from unauthorized use.
Make sure to do your part by frequently checking for firmware updates for all your Blink devices.
To force an update, remove the Blink device’s batteries and put them back in. Your camera will automatically connect to the company’s servers and update the latest firmware.
Currently, newer generation Blink devices are assured of security updates through these dates:
|Blink Video Doorbell (2021 Release)
|Blink Outdoor Camera (2020 & 2023 Release)
|Blink Indoor Camera (2020 Release)
|Blink Mini (2020 & 2022 Release)
|Blink Sync Module (2020 Release)
Update Your Login Information
In addition to updating your firmware, updating your device and account login information regularly is a good practice. This is particularly true if you think your account(s) or device(s) have been compromised. This goes for your home network, too.
Cybersecurity experts suggest changing your login information every three months or so. You can update your Blink account details through the app:
- Go to Settings, followed by “Account and Privacy”
- Tap “Password” and then “OK”
- Follow the verification prompts and then select “Verify”
- Enter your new password on the Change Password tab
- You will be required to log in to your Blink account with your newly created password
- Once you verify one more time, your changes will take effect
You can also change your email and phone number through the same menu tree.
Use Different Log-ins for Each Account
Many users have the same login information for all their accounts. As we have seen with credential stuffing, hackers can use stolen information to access multiple accounts and devices.
Create unique login credentials for each device and use strong passwords. Whenever possible, incorporate two-factor authentication to add another layer of protection.
One of the vulnerabilities of Blink cameras is the hijacking of video feeds.
For this reason, avoid pointing your cameras at personal spaces (like bedrooms and bathrooms) and areas where sensitive information (such as your desk) may be in plain view.
What To Do if Your Blink Camera Has Been Hacked
If your Blink camera has been hacked, the clock is ticking on limiting the damage. Unfortunately, your Blink system may be a gateway to other devices and accounts you own, so don’t delay in taking the following steps:
- Notify Blink that your account or system has been hacked so that appropriate actions can be taken on their end.
- Immediately change all your account login credentials, including usernames and passwords.
- Reset all Blink devices.
- Reset the Blink app and change your password.
- Do not recycle any usernames and passwords you’ve used in the past or with other devices. They may have already been compromised.
- Reset your Wi-Fi network and change the password. Incorporate as many security measures as possible, such as multi-factor authentication.
- Consider upgrading your networking system to include more robust security features.