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Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Winston
Date: December 07, 2017 02:41AM
Anyone using old iPhones as security cameras?

A while back I played with Presence, an iPhone app which turns an old iPhone into a security camera. You can then access it from another iPhone, iPad or computer. The Presence app will run on iOS 6 or later. The company offers a bit of free cloud storage, then paid option for more.

There are a bunch of other similar apps available. Most seem to use cloud storage, rather than on-device, which makes sense given that the phone can be stolen. But there don't seem to be options to do roll-your-own storage. Presence is the only one I found which supports iOS 6, which gets you the iPhone 3gs, but several can use iOS 7 (iPhone 4 and later).

The apps offer motion detection, and some may be able to take video as well as stills. (I think Presence is limited to stills while running on its own.) Some apps can integrate with other security cameras, or control things like pan/tilt mounts.

If done right, I'd be a lot less worried about an iPhone as a security camera than the easily hacked Chinese cameras apparently used by most security camera systems.


Advice on apps, mounting, security concerns (cameras getting hacked)?


Thanks.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: December 07, 2017 03:24AM
Interesting concept. We're running Nest products here, which work pretty well, but I've had recurring daydreams about reprovisioning old cell phones as security cams, as well as possibly using dash cams on a home based network. It seems that a lot of pre-packaged, modestly priced home security setups have yucky camera performance compared to cell phones and dash cams... but as you note, the conundrum is capturing/storing your own video. The better systems w/ the cloud based storage get you w/ the subscription fees... it would be nice if you could integrate some of the better performing cameras into your own household network for privacy concerns, and to avoid an add'l monthly expense.

There's a big jump in price to get an on-site based storage setup w/ really good camera performance vs. a lesser system, and then there are affordable stand alone cameras that now offer excellent imaging that ought to be able to be integrated into a RYO home security system. Seems like an opportunity in need of a competent solution provider.
==
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: December 07, 2017 04:55AM
I used an app, probably Presence, about five years ago. I was only using it on a LAN (temporarily to keep an eye on my mother-in-law who had dementia) and it was video and I was using an iPad rather than an iPhone as the client. I suppose there is a way, using some other application, to upload to a web server from the Mac I was using to do the monitoring.

You could run Skype or FaceTime in an always on mode as a down and dirty method.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: December 07, 2017 05:40AM
Winston,

I tried Presence. The biggest issues I've found using Presence is keeping the "camera" phone powered, cool and mounted in just the right position. Not so easy with a cell phone! Trust me. You can't pan, tilt or zoom a mounted cell phone. This may or may not be an issue. Tried it - lol!

While the idea is nice on the surface, it really isn't workable as an alternative to an actual surveillance cam. I switched back to a Foscam IP cam. Much better. Not the most user-friendly and more expensive but superior in every way than using Presence with an old cell phone.

Robert
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: GuyGene
Date: December 07, 2017 05:42AM
We definitely need some kind of better security camera systems! I have a Ring doorbell which I like, but battery runs down too quickly. It can be wired to doorbell wiring, but my old wiring is messed up for now. I only care about outside cameras, so iPhone would not work for me.



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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: December 07, 2017 06:22AM
......just in the news last night.....Air bnb faces charges......the person staying there found cameras in bathroom that looked like chargers [ aimed at shower and toilet ].....and something else where it was an old iphone and they used the camera to record video somehow.......



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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: December 07, 2017 08:47AM
I tried Presence with an iPhone 4, but I not only had the power issue mentioned above, but also:
- latency in its motion sensing such that it wouldn’t start recording until well after the initiating motion, usually failing to record any of the incident
- inability to ignore the continued and unimportant motion of wind blowing tree leaves within the camera’s field of view
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 07, 2017 09:05AM
I use Presence on an old iPod Touch. Plugged it into an iHome alarm clock. It worked okay. Really though, a purpose built camera system is the best solution in my opinion. I will agree though.. they are often insecure.
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: December 07, 2017 11:05AM
Get an automotive phone mount and mount the phone where you want. If it will stay stuck from 10°-110° in a car, then it should work fine in your living room / study / etc.

I use Presence with an old iPhone 4S. It sits on a shelf connected via USB to my comptuer so power isn't an issue. There are extra long cables available for not very much money that provide charging only, some will also allow sync.

[smile.amazon.com]





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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Carm
Date: December 07, 2017 11:29AM
I just bought a Ring Pro during BF. Had to upgrade the transformer to 16V, my old transformer was 12V, also upgraded the doorbell for $3 more (it was a kit at lowes) doing the install for my inlaws this weekend. Bought a 45 degree wedge kit off Amazon ($10) because the camera faced the wall and I wanted more coverage. Works great, captures me leaving and packages getting dropped off. Haven't talked to a visitor through it yet. Just kid and wife as a test.

Before that I had a Wyze 1080 wifi cam facing the front door through the front office French door . Just used it to get alerts no recording on an SD card. $25 plus tax. On their website $25, through Amazon it cost $5 more. It's a rebadged camera that someone makes for other manufacturers with different firmware. But it's the same camera. Only works on the 2.5Ghz band.

The wyze cam works buts it's intended as an indoor camera. It captures any motion and sends you an alert through the app. When I say any motion I mean a bird flying by might get caught in the recording or might not. With the motion, recordings were hit or miss when I first got it. There was a firmware update and it got better. Also there are three motion sensitivity settings.

I see it more as a monitoring cam than anything else. You can access it whenever you have cell signal or service and the app remembers you. Visit Amazon or Wyze for more info.
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: michaelb
Date: December 07, 2017 06:04PM
I also use presence. I think that is an old ipod I have mounted, not an iphone. It has worked well enough over the years, even though I don't have it running that much set for motion for detection. I should turn that back on (but school break is coming up). Anyway, I mostly caught my teenage son sneaking home, but once when we were on vacation I caught our neighbor coming in (she was checking on our water, since there was problem with the well).
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: davester
Date: December 07, 2017 10:54PM
Don't waste your time and money. Get one of these for only $20, though currently backordered due to popularity: [www.wyzecam.com]

Review here: [www.youtube.com]



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Carm
Date: December 08, 2017 12:31AM
Here is my impression of the Wyzecam. I ordered on public release day. After using the wyzecam I would purchase additional units just to monitor the inside of my house. I have pets and an alarm system. If the units disappear, so does your memory card and video. Would I use the wyzecam as an alarm system? No. Like I said, just to monitor what's happening if I got an alert. It is the best inexpensive purpose built product available on the market (almost idiot proof) I still have the wyze cam facing the front. Even though I have the Ring Pro. No monthly recurring fee on the Wyzecam. The SD card recording option allows for local recording, the free cloud recording is a few seconds 8-12 at a time just to send you an alert to see what happend, you have to get to the live view to see what is happening in real time. The few hiccups I had included not capturing motion events, then capturing to many motion events. I also had a few issues with getting kicked out of the app and having to sign in again. Multiple times.

From doing some research on the camera, a company ismartalarm created these cameras as part of their home security system and charged $50-$100 per camera. Camera is called Spot. Wyzecam and Xiaomi use the same camera, each with their respective firmware.
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Re: Anyone using old iPhones as Security Cameras?
Posted by: Winston
Date: December 08, 2017 02:05AM
Is there no concern about these cameras being hacked? I've read that Chinese made security cameras have poor security and have been used for Denial of Service attacks.

Such as this on DDoS:
[www.pcworld.com]

Or this recent article (Nov. 15, 2017) on camera security:
[www.washingtonpost.com]

Or this about Foscam from June:
[freebeacon.com]
Quote
http://freebeacon.com/national-security/chinese-made-video-cameras-pose-major-cyber-attack-risk/
"Foscam US has been notified of 18 security vulnerabilities that exist on cameras manufactured by Shenzhen Foscam which leave users vulnerable to hacks which allow attackers to remotely take-over cameras, live stream, download stored files, and even compromise other devices located on the local network," the company said.

Or this about hard-coded login info on video surveilance DVRs:
[www.csoonline.com]
Quote
https://www.csoonline.com/article/3034284/security/hard-coded-password-exposes-up-to-46000-video-surveillance-dvrs-to-hacking.html
. . . The DVR's Web interface is powered by an embedded Web server which runs on a Linux-based OS -- the firmware. When analyzing the CGI scripts that handle user authentication for the Web interface, the RBS researchers found that they contained a routine to check if the user-supplied username was "root" and the password 519070.

"If these credentials are supplied, full access is granted to the web interface," the RBS researchers said a report scheduled to be published Wednesday.
. . .
The Chinese company also creates digital video recorders and firmware for other companies which then sell those devices around the world under their own brands. The RBS researchers confirmed that at least some of the DVR products from König, Swann Communications, COP-USA, KGUARD Security, Defender (a brand of Circus World Displays) and LOREX Technology, a division of FLIR Systems, contain the same hard-coded root password.

And those are only the confirmed ones.
. . .
"Consumers should be aware that when buying especially lower-end devices made in China, there is a significant risk of the devices having serious flaws that won't ever be addressed," said Carsten Eiram, chief research officer at RBS via email.



A recent thread on the forum even asked if people put tape over their Mac cameras . . .
I'd be at least a little less worried about an iPhone getting hacked.



------------------------
Be seeing you.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2017 02:23AM by Winston.
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