When CCTV became widespread across the towns and cities of the UK in the 1980s and 1990s a CCTV camera was just a CCTV camera. It was a camera set up to record images, those images were recorded on a video tape and later on digital video recorders. If an incident happened law enforcement agencies or others could request access to the video data of the incident.
What’s that got to do with cyber security you might be thinking. Well, fast forward 30 years – technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. We are now in a world of superfast WiFi, on the advent of 5G and smart cities.
Cities with networks and digital services made more efficient to benefit our city’s inhabitants, businesses and government. So, we could have better transport systems, more efficient ways to heat and light buildings and upgraded water supplies and so on.
Everything’s connected, everything is exchanging data and everything is a route into the internet. And that’s where surveillance cameras come in. At the moment most publically owned CCTV is still analogue but systems are being upgraded. They are becoming IP enabled – will hackers target surveillance cameras and recorders as a way in and launch cyber attacks? You may have seen fairly high profile stories in the press last year about this.
That’s where cyber security comes in – we’re seeing a rise in cybercrime and a fall in traditional crime. One in 10 adults were a victim of cybercrime in 2015 – 16, according to the Office of National Statistics 5.8 million cybercrimes were recorded. The government has committed to spending £1.9 billion on cybercrime and cyber security as part of its national cyber security strategy which runs up until 2021. The national cyber security centre was launched earlier this month.
So, cyber security is important for surveillance camera systems – particularly as more connect to the internet. It can be pretty basic like ensuring you change default passwords to much more complex things like good encryption protocols when sharing data across systems. What is for certain is that you must make sure your systems are secure from any attacks and regularly review the cyber security measures you have in place.
Surveillance camera principles
Cyber security is an important part of my national surveillance camera strategy for England and Wales – it sits within the standards strand and links to principles 8, 9 and 10 in the surveillance camera code of practice. By having high standards around cyber security organisations can attempt to protect themselves from any malicious cyber attacks.
I’ll be issuing some guidance for surveillance camera users on cyber security in the future but what are you doing now to make sure your systems are secure?