New Feature: Camera Tamper Detection

CheckMyCCTV Camera Tamper Detection launched

A CCTV system is only as good as the images it is recording. So if your cameras have been tampered with, your CCTV system may be as good as useless if the cameras are not recording the intended target area.

The problem is, how do you know when they have been moved? If the cameras are tampered with the system would carry on recording and the user would be blissfully unaware that their CCTV system is severely compromised. A manual check could be done, but this would be a hugely time consuming exercise comparing a ‘reference’ image against the current image.

CheckMyCCTV already monitors for camera faults, but it now goes one step further and monitors for camera tampering.

How does it work?

The Camera Tamper Detection function in CheckMyCCTV works by taking snapshots from each camera every day at user defined times (usually one during the day, and one at night). These are analysed and compared with images from the previous day, if the new image changes its view by more than user defined threshold, an alert is generated.

Camera Tamper Detection is a semi-automatic check, meaning that although CheckMyCCTV will generate an alert when the image has changes above a certain threshold. It is designed to augment manual camera checks, giving the operator an indication that a camera may need to be investigated further.

What can it detect?

Using the Camera Tamper Detection feature, CheckMyCCTV can now monitor and report when cameras are moved, obscured, covered, or sprayed, using existing network connected CCTV recorders without having to purchase additional equipment.

A typical application for Camera Tamper Detection could be in a shop or retail environment, where cameras are trained on the Till areas, or at entrance/exit doorways of buildings. An alert would be triggered if these important cameras are moved or obscured.

We’re not going to claim that camera tamper detection is 100% accurate, it is designed as an automated ‘first pass’ to give the operator a means of quickly checking whether reported cameras have indeed been tampered with.


Has your CCTV been tampered with?

We’ve all seen Hollywood movies and TV dramas showing criminals tampering with CCTV systems prior to committing the crime.

Admittedly, they’re often pretty far fetched, but there are methods used by everyday criminals or disenfranchised employees to tamper with CCTV systems and leave them vulnerable.

Here’s 5 ways that your security system could be compromised through tampering, and how to detect that it is happening…

  1. Disconnected Cameras – A pretty basic one, a CCTV system can’t record what it can’t see. If the power or video cables can be seen by a would-be criminal, they can be disconnected. Check that cameras have not been disconnected from the system, especially ones around opportunist targets such as POS areas or Staff exits.
  2. Camera Tampering – As a camera that is disconnected produces an alarm condition, cameras are often moved, obscured, or otherwise tampered with to ensure the system is not recording the criminal activity. Check that the cameras are pointing where they should be, and the image is not obscured or blocked. It’s worth taking a snapshot reference image from each camera and comparing against that.
  3. Time or Date Adjustment – Adjusting the date or time on a DVR may be used to cover up a crime being committed, or at least make it difficult to find. Check that the time and date is accurate, there may only be a few minutes discrepancy either way, but that’s all it takes.
  4. Disarming the system – Some CCTV systems may use a keyswitch or timer to Arm or Disarm the alarms – especially if it is being monitored remotely. If a system has been accidentally (or purposely) left in a disarmed state then it may be leaving the site vulnerable. Check that your RVRC is receiving alarms from your site at the expected times.
  5. Disconnecting Alarms – If the site connects to a central monitoring station on alarm activations, damaged or disconnected alarm sensors can leave the site vulnerable by not signalling alarm triggers back at the central station. It could be many days before the central station realises that alarms are not triggering. Again, check that your RVRC is receiving the expected amount of alarms.

If you think it seems like a lot of work to check that your systems have not been tampered with and make sure they are working – you’re absolutely right, it would take a huge amount of resource to conduct these tests even once a day.

Fortunately, CheckMyCCTV automatically detects and reports suspected CCTV tampering and system faults every hour of every day, protecting your assets, property, staff, and your company’s bottom line.

If you are responsible for the upkeep of your company’s security systems, or if you play an active role in reducing shrinkage, try CheckMyCCTV FREE for 14-days and check the status of your CCTV systems today.