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Security For Your Security

If you’ve created an account on any website in the last 5 years, you’ll be familiar with password requirements. 8 characters, alphanumeric, etc… sometimes even special characters. Regardless of its inconvenience, it’s a good practice. So, what does that have to do with your CCTV system?

A surprising number of people leave the default password on their home security systems and cameras. A staggering number, actually. “It’s easy to remember,” you may say. Well… that’s true, but it’s also easy for anyone in the world to gain acess to. And then access your CCTV system. Maybe it’s your home security system, so they can peek in on your family. Maybe your business security system, so they can keep track of when you are and aren’t in the office / store. Maybe it’s just to access your system to add to a botnet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet).

Simply put, a botnet is a network of devices that can be used to do harm, like sending a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, steal information, send spam, or give the attacker access to said systems. If you think P.C.s are the only devices that are vulnerable, you may be surprised to find out that even Smart Refrigerators have been used in some botnet attacks. Chills your drinks, and takes out a government server!

Most people would like to believe that it wouldn’t happen to them, but sincerely, why take that risk? It’s really a simple thing to prevent. It turns out that “password” isn’t really a great password.

How would you prevent this from happening? Strong passwords are a good start. You really should consider a password that’s at least 9 characters long, alphanumeric, with special characters, and varied case. Also, rename the admin account, rather than just using the name ‘admin’. Here’s an example of a changed username and strong password:

Username: DAdams42

Password: [email protected]

The password above has a special character, varied case, five numbers, and it’s 11 characters in length. Just write it down and keep it in your wallet or other safe place, if need be.

Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to put that in every time you’d like to view playback on your NVR, but it’s better than someone being able to access your personal cameras. Now, this mostly applies to IP Cameras, but also goes for any home CCTV system that’s connected to the internet. IP cameras and systems just happen to be a bit more neglected as far as passwords go.

Now, keep in mind that if viewing your CCTV system from outside your home or office isn’t a big deal to you, you can always just leave it disconnected from the internet. That will prevent anyone from being able to connect to it remotely.

This author isn’t usually an alarmist, but botnets like Mirai and the newest one The Reaper (yeah… doesn’t really invoke images of bunnies and rainbows), can cause serious damage, and most people have no idea that their hardware is being used for this kind of thing. I’m going to include some reading material for you guys just below here, but to sum up my point, you really should consider security for your security. It’s a simple measure than can save some hassle and embarassment. And can prevent people from using your equipment and internet connection to do harm to others. Plus, the internet doesn’t need to see video of you in your skivvies.

https://www.wired.com/story/reaper-iot-botnet-infected-million-networks/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirai_(malware)

https://www.cnet.com/news/fridge-caught-sending-spam-emails-in-botnet-attack/

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IS IT COMPATIBLE?

With advances in CCTV technology, there come some challenges. If you purchased a home or business system more than a couple of years ago, you may have to consider compatibility when thinking about an upgrade. This may seem daunting, but in fact, might be a little easier than you think. Many of the security DVRs that we offer are actually backwards compatible, for the most part. This may not be the case if you’re using an older CAT5 system (don’t worry, there’s a solution for this as well!), but if your aging system uses BNC cable, we’ve got you covered! STOiC, TruView, Watchman, and Samsung are compatible with your existing cameras. So, what does this mean for the consumer? In a word, choice. In a few more words, choice, and an affordable way to upgrade your system in stages. You’re able to upgrade your DVR now, keeping your existing cameras, and over time upgrade cameras to get the full potential out of your CCTV system.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you’re using a system that is utilizing BNC cables, you won’t have to run new cable. This can keep costs way down, and turn it from a job needing a contrator, to something that can be done by many people on their own.

So, what about those who aren’t ready to upgrade their whole system? Yep, there’s a solution there, too! We offer one of the few security cameras on the market that is specifically designed to be a replacement for older SD Analog systems. Not only that, with its 4-in-1 capability, it’ll upgrade with you when you’re ready. The STH-B7300W is a wonderfully rounded camera. Capable of 720p in AHD, TVI, and CVI, as well as CVBS (SD Analog), this can replace everything from Samsung’s SDC-5340 and SDC-7340, to Night Owl, LOREX, and even Samsung’s SDC-8440. What’s better than that? Well… STOiC’s two-year warranty is pretty great, too.

Well… given my long-winded introduction, let’s get to the whole point of this entry. Below I’ve compiled a small compatibility chart. This will be updated from time to time, so check back periodically. One more bit of information for you to think about: the STOiC cameras that we offer are compatible with most systems. Not just the STH-B7300W, but all of our STOiC cameras. When you order, just let us know which system you have (or, using the handy chart below, just let us know which video type your DVR uses). We’ll take care of the rest for you!

 

 

 

DVR COMPATIBILITY CHART

STOiC –  AHD+

TruView – TVI (5MP DVRs will support TVI, as well as AHD up to 1080p; 2MP DVRs will support TVI, as well as AHD up to 720p)

Watchman – AHD

Samsung – AHD

LOREX – CVI

Swan – TVI (Proprietary)

Q-See – TVI

Annke – AHD

Nightowl – AHD

Bolide – AHD

Speco – TVI

Super Circuits – TVI

 

Now, let me finish by saying that if you have any CCTV needs that need to be addressed, just let us know. We offer free consultations on system building, free technical support for any product purchased through us, AND you’re able to talk to a real person. If you’re an integrator or installer, we’d LOVE to hear from you. Give us an opportunity to show you why we love talking to people about security cameras!

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Adding a Cost-Effective Public View Monitor with the VMU-100 Video Management Unit

How to hook up a Public View Monitor with the Watchman VMU-100 Video Management Unit

(Must be used with a Watchman HD Security DVR)

 

If you have installed Public View Monitors for your business, or for your customers, you know that they are expensive. Using a Watchman VMU-100 Video Management unit can produce results in a short amount of time with a minimal investment. The VMU-100 can only be used with the Watchman HD Security DVR’s so if you have not already switched to Watchman, call us to talk about how Watchman can benefit you and your CCTV Installations.

For those not familiar with the term ‘Public View Monitor’ you have probably walked into a grocery or retail store, looked up, and seen yourself on a big monitor. These monitors are considered “Public View’ Monitors as they monitor the ingress and egress of the facility by the general public. Many of these monitors are self-contained units with a built-in camera. In addition to being expensive, they present other problems with your security application. Since the monitor must be facing the same direction of the camera, placement of one or the other may not be optimal. With the Watchman Video Management Unit, these problems are avoided as the Monitor is receiving video from an adequately placed camera via your local area network.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your HD Watchman Security DVR is connected to the network at the facility.
  2. A monitor is installed in the location that will be used for public view.
  3. The VMU-100 is installed at the same location of the monitor.
  4. The VMU-100 is connected to the Network and the Monitor
  5. You can now log in to the Video Management Unit and pull up the appropriate camera.

VMU-100 Diagram

This allows you to use any regular VGA or HDMI Monitor which keeps the cost of your CCTV application down. Because of the lower cost factor, Public View type monitors can be used in a variety of additional security applications. This can add revenue to your CCTV Installation and separate you from the competition. If a prospective customer gets 6 -8 CCTV quotations, and yours is the only one to propose a PVM, your proposal will stand out. With the simplification and lower cost, of offering the option of a Public View Monitor, many new applications emerge. The VMU can be used in situations where the Monitor must be in a different area than the camera. With standard conventional PVM’s, the camera is permanently installed in the monitor so options are limited.

One such application is a monitor installed in a tire shop so customers can watch the progress on their vehicle. Other uses for the Video Management Unit include Police Stations, Electronics Stores, and Factories. In addition to providing a cost-effective option for providing a PVM, the VMU can be used to view a multitude of DVR’s in various locations. For more about this versatile and unique accessory, call us toll free at 877-880-7728.

Learn more here: Video Management Unit

View Watchman DVR’s here: HD Security DVR’s

Or just Call us!

We Love to talk to People about Security Cameras!

VMU-100
Watchman VMU-100 Video Management Unit