The latest cloud camera breach shows why we need local storage in the smart home

Eufycam2 lifestyle
Eufycam2 lifestyle (Image credit: Android Central)

The best wireless security cameras can be really great tools to have throughout your home. Not only can you use one to keep an eye on your valuables inside and outside of your home, but they are also used in sensitive environments like hospitals and police stations. They're like an extra set of eyes that never blink or fall asleep on the job.

Smart security cameras can be great tools when properly used and secured.

Most of these types of cameras transmit video to some sort of cloud account where you can view them at your leisure from any device with an internet connection, and that can become a problem as seen in the latest "hack" of over 150,000 cameras from Verkada.

Hack isn't really the right word to use here but the results amounted to the same thing. Apparently, an administration login was found on the internet that allowed a group of hackers to view some footage that should never have been made public. Videos from hospital intensive care units, from the production line at a Tesla plant, and even hidden camera footage of police interrogations were made available for the public. That's because this particular set of credentials acted as a master password for everything Verdaka kept in the cloud. Yikes.

Verdaka told CBS News that it has fixed the issue and is "investigating the scale and scope of the breach" but it's still a potentially scary thought to know that a similar bit of carelessness or a targeted attack could expose so many cameras. It's also worrisome that special care isn't taken to secure cloud-based enterprise video equipment, but that falls squarely on the shoulders of Verdaka, not its customers.

Arlo Pro 2 camera

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

While none of us is likely to have such sensitive material stored in a cloud video service, it's still a great reminder that nothing in the cloud is 100% secure all of the time. It's important to evaluate the security practices and investigate any past security breaches before you trust anything stored outside your home, let alone something like ICU footage that exposes confidential patient care or police interrogation techniques.

Local storage can keep sensitive video away from "the cloud."

This is why I rely on local storage for my "security" needs. I'm still using the Arlo Pro 2 system I reviewed in 2019 because it does everything I need a set of security cameras to do and lets me store my files locally. The event footage will still get uploaded to a free basic Arlo account but I can delete them at will and have no worries that someone can find a way to view them via the internet.

There are plenty of other great options when you're looking for the best security camera with local storage at just about any price range. I just haven't bothered to upgrade because what I have meets my needs and still works great.

Foscam Outdoor Camera

Source: Foscam (Image credit: Source: Foscam)

Any connected camera can suffer from a security breach and you'll hear tales of people finding ways to log in and view live footage or even speak through a security camera, but storing my files on a local hard drive instead of in the cloud means I don't have to worry as much. Or pay as much, which is always awesome for someone like me who is admittedly frugal.

I'm cheap so I also love keeping everything on my hard drive instead of a cloud server.

That's another great benefit, as cloud storage options for connected cameras can quickly get out of hand and that means you'll either need to pony up hundreds of dollars each year for plenty of cloud storage or be sure to quickly download any files you want to keep.

A system that stores its files to your SD card gives you the best of both worlds: you can view events in real-time through an app interface and pull them off of an SD card or USB drive to keep them forever without any downloading and fewer potentially prying eyes.

Arlo Pro 3 Cropped

Arlo Pro 3

Store your 2K video footage locally

If you don't trust your security company with your private footage on the cloud, then you'll need an Arlo smart hub for local storage. The Arlo Pro 3, functionally the same camera as the Pro 4, is your best option if you plan on buying one.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.