Motion Detection In Security Cameras | When To Use It And Why Does It Suck (sometimes)?

One of the most popular features of security cameras is the ability to record only when something is happening in front of the camera. This has been the go to method for preserving that precious Hard Drive space, especially with resolutions always on the rise and with it recording storage demands. With event recording, you don’t have hours and hours of footage taking up space where nothing has happened. Up until now the most popular way of detecting an event is through motion.

How Does Motion Detection Work?

Motion detection is achieved by continuously monitoring each frame of video and averaging the background state of the scene, then if a significant portion of that scene (or percentage of pixels) changes from one frame of the video to the next, a motion event is triggered. For example, the camera is monitoring an empty hallway. Once a person enters the frame of the camera, the pixels that were of the floor and wall are now changed to the person. The camera logs a motion event and the recorder is told to begin recording. This technology was first introduced in analog security camera systems in the early-mid 2000s, but was fairly bad at giving accurate results. Unfortunately in the last decade, not much has changed.

Why Does Motion Detection Suck?

Motion detection events are still plagued with the same problems they had when they were first introduced. False positives from trees blowing in the wind, poor sensitivity, too much sensitivity, extreme shifts of lighting (i.e. a cloud moving in front of the sun), etc. have always caused this form of event detection to be less than useful. Some manufacturers have implemented the ability to exclude areas of the scene from triggering motion detection. For example, you can block out those trees that are always blowing in the wind, or the road traffic that is just visible at the edge of the parking lot. These features have helped, but never seem to work perfectly.
Another issue that needed to be solved was pre and post recording. In the early days, a motion event would occur and start recording, but you would inevitable miss the first couple seconds as the event was processed and the recorders Hard Drive spun up. Security Equipment Manufacturers solved this by building in a continuous buffer that always keeps the last few seconds or even minutes of video in memory. If a motion event occurs, the recorder knows to keep the buffered video and save it to the Hard Drive along with the footage from the point of the even on. But, even with these improvements, motion based recording still fails to be accurate enough to be useful in demanding surveillance and security applications.

So What Should I Use To Trigger Recording?

The advent of smart cameras and machine learning has opened up the market to a wide range of intelligent smart events that can be used to log and trigger many different aspects of your system. On the simple side of the spectrum, line crossing and region intrusion detection can be used in place of the relatively “dumb” motion detection. With line crossing, individual directions can be set to trigger and intrusion detection can require a certain amount of the region to be filled or that the object be present for a specified time threshold before an event is triggered. Some of the most advanced analytics include face detection, License Plate Reading and Logging, and People Counting. These advanced analytics can be used to more accurately monitor and interpret the actual events that are occurring in the surveyed area. Recording can now be triggered based on extremely specific criteria, such as if a specific license plate is detected, if there is a face seen, or if an object of significant enough size enters a specific region.

While motion detection has it’s place, it by no means is a complete or in many cases even a viable solution.

Contact an Arcdyn Sales rep today and ask about our line of smart cameras.

The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.

Cloud Security Cameras

As with everything in life, there are trade-offs when deciding where to store and how to secure your surveillance camera footage. Most options available fall into two main categories: Local Storage and Cloud Storage. In this article, I will walk you through the pros and cons of each and hopefully help in avoiding some pitfalls and misconceptions along the way. Continue reading “The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.”

Alarm.com IP Security Camera Vulnerability – Never Fixed After 3 Years

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Originally posted to the /r/homedefense subreddit on Sept 30, 2013 by reddit user ahmadnassri, an exploit that could potentially expose your entire network to hackers has been released to the world. On Jan 10, 2017 ahmadnassri released a full walkthrough on how to hack into an alarm.com system and gain access to an extensive list of private data and devices.

The exploit was achieved by decompiling the JAVA player responsible for streaming live video feeds from the camera system. This gives a would be hacker easy access to alarm.com’s Master Key and in turn your camera system. While this exploit only applies to older models sold by dealers such as Vivint and Frontpoint Security, there are plenty of these models in the wild to cause concern.

The release of yet another security flaw found in security cameras and devices adds to the long list of vulnerabilities found in recent memory. Until the security industry and manufacturers that are creating devices for the Internet of things begins to take network security seriously we will continue to see dangerous exploits found and utilized.

In most cases, changing the default password on your equipment will protect you from an attack, but that unfortunately is not a sure bet when using cheap or poor quality systems. The old adage “you get what you pay for” always turns out to be true and in this case could mean the difference between your security or being a target.

Check out Arcdyn for professional and secure IP security camera systems

IP Security Cameras and The DDOS Attack on Dyn

ddos-outage-arcdyn

On October 21st, there was a massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on an internet company named Dyn. Dyn controls a large portion of the servers that make up the internet ‘Domain Name System’ or DNS. These servers are essentially the traffic cops that point your web browser to the IP address of websites when you type in a domain in the address bar. If these servers were to be unreachable, as they were on Friday, your web browser wouldn’t know where to go to retrieve that site you just asked it to get for you.

The attackers used a DDOS attack to overwhelm these DNS server with so many requests, that they servers were unable to tell which requests were genuine and which were part of the attack. These hackers were able to pull off something of this magnitude by collecting access to devices that are part of what has come to be known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The IoT includes many devices that consumers may not think of as connected devices. In recent years, refrigerators, thermostats, TVs, and even cameras have all been built with the ability to connect and communicate on the internet. While technology has progressed to allow for better communications between our devices, security has lagged behind and in some cases been left as an afterthought.

One fact that has emerged in the days following the attack is that a large portion of the connected devices used in that attack were IP Security Cameras and recorders. The surveillance devices used in last Friday’s attack were from a specific, low end, Chinese manufacture of cheap equipment that failed to build in the necessary security features needed to prevent hackers from gaining access to these systems. In most cases the vulnerability that was exploited was as simple as a default admin password that the end user was never prompted to reset. Other security holes include that these devices, by default, allow access via lesser know, but powerful avenues, such as SSH and Telnet. If a hacker is able to gain access using these methods, they can tell that device to do whatever they want. In this case it was to flood all their traffic to specific and vital portion of our internet’s infrastructure.

While on face value, this may seem like a minor inconvenience to most every day Americans, but the implications of these types of attacks reach further than you think. An attack of this nature could shut down markets and prevent the trade of stocks, could effect power grids and utilities, could even prevent or disrupt the administration of elections.

Anyone purchasing Arcdyn professional IP surveillance equipment can rest assured that their system has been built with security in mind.

  • Every system automatically prompts the user to enter a default password upon setup.
  • Dangerous connection protocols, like SSH and Telnet, are disabled by default.
  • Frequent firmware updates mean that security holes are patched quickly.

Arcdyn is here to help you ensure that your system is never hacked or used in nefarious ways to attack others.

Contact us today to get a FREE quote.

Wired vs. Wireless IP Security Cameras

Wireless Security Cameras – The Worst Option for Security

When shopping for a security camera system for your home or business, many people seek out a wireless solution.  Wireless cameras can be great for simple applications like monitoring operations in a business or keeping an eye on your home or pets while you are at work, but lack the robustness and reliability that are required for actual security applications.  So while there is a time and place for wireless, security-centered applications should always use a hard-wired system.

Network Reliability

There are many reasons why wireless cameras are deemed unreliable, one important factor is the dependency on your wireless router.  If your router is ever down or needs to be reset (which in some cases can be often), it will cause a lapse in transmission of data from the camera to the hard drive.  This could mean that your camera system is not recording during an important event.

With a hard wired system that utilizes Arcdyn’s plug and play PoE ports, you won’t even need to worry about a power outage. A simple UPS or battery backup device can ensure that your system continues to record even if there is an interruption of power.  Additionally, If your network fails, the recorder continues to record footage as long as your battery backup lasts, so you will still have recorded footage to look back to.

Power Supplies

One aspect of wireless cameras that many customers overlook is power. With wireless cameras, your options for power are limited to battery or running a power cable to a 12v DC power supply like an outlet or solar cell.

However, battery power is another feature that contributes to the unreliable nature of wireless cameras.  Batteries will die, and when they do you may miss important footage.  Any other source of power will involve running a cable to the camera, which kind of defeats the purpose of a wireless camera and usually results in unsightly wires and power bricks plugged into the wall nearby.

Signal “Jamming”

It is possible, and not terribly difficult, to disrupt or “jam” the signal of a wireless network, whether it be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.  This can be done from a computer or smartphone and the knowledge to do so can be found easily online. A simple google search will result in a multitude of guides and videos showing how to do this. In addition jamming devices can be purchased on Amazon for under $60.  This is another obvious reason that we recommend staying away from wireless cameras.

Insufficient Local Network Speeds

Transmission of standard high definition video (1080p @ 30fps) over Wi-Fi will use at least 4Mbps of your local bandwidth per camera. Unless you provide the wireless cameras with their very own network you will be introducing unneeded network traffic to your local wi-fi. Not only is the extra traffic unnecessary but it will also be  exposing your security cameras to anyone who has access to your home network. 

With Arcdyn IP/PoE system, you can be sure that your cameras are secured and not vulnerable to malicious attacks. The cameras are on their own private network that is inaccessible to local network clients. This helps your security, but  also keeps unwanted traffic off of your local network so your home or business can stay connected.