Review: Samsung SmartCam PT network camera

The home security camera market has taken a big hit in recent months, becoming the poster child for “bad security behavior” when people talk about the security (or lack thereof) of Internet of Things. Last year’s highly publicized DDoS attack on Dyn highlighted insecure cameras being used as part of a botnet; vulnerabilities were also found in Chinese-based security cameras and at least one Samsung SmartCam product. In the U.S., the FTC filed a complaint against D-Link over claims that their webcams were “secure”.

So security is now top of mind when it comes to new products being introduced. In this case, I received a review sample of the Samsung SmartCam PT ($179, Amazon), a pan-and-tilt model (96-degree field of view, 155-degree tilt and 350-degree pan) that offers users more advanced features like 1080p HD live streaming, auto tracking (the camera moves with any subject moving), motion zone select and privacy mode (you can tell the camera to tilt it’s lens down 80 degrees). But lingering over these new features is the question about how secure the camera is and whether you should trust the camera to not be taken over by hackers (especially if you’re using it to track things inside your house).

Setup via app

Like previous models of the SmartCam line, setup is achieved by downloading a mobile app (iOS or Android, I tested with iOS), then following the instructions on the app to install the camera. With the app running, you push a button on the camera in order to connect your phone to the pre-installed Wi-Fi SSID and password. You can then direct the camera to configure to your existing Wi-Fi network and password to complete the setup.

The SmartCam app lets you install multiple cameras in this way. In my case, the app had registered a previous SmartCam, which was now offline. I couldn’t delete the camera from the app, it wasn’t until later when I could access the cameras through the web browser, that I could delete the old camera.

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