A raspberry pi, the camera module and the free motion detection software. Cheaper and fully under my control...
The technology to keep our homes safe has been remarkably static over the years. Most alarms still rely on the same tried and trusted techniques to work out if there's someone in your home when there shouldn't be. Typically they rely on motion detectors, door and window sensors, or pressure mats. Oh and you can have fancy light …
I started my adventure into home security with a RPi and the 'motion' package which worked well but then I switched to a system similar to the reviews for a few of reasons. If you want more than one camera, then you'll either need an un-practically long USB cable for your extra webcams or multiple RPis, then you'll need usb hubs and then wireless dongles and etc, etc.... Secondly there's no app support. I wrote some scripts which uploaded the pics and videos to an offsite server and sent myself an email but it wasn't particularly elegant.
So in summary an RPi can be used for as a single camera home security system but once you want to get into a multiple room/view system it is not practical and your house will have so many trailing wires and psus it will end up looking like a server room.
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In my defence I've just finished a night shift and am too tired to read more and am off to bed, but my comments are in response to these words:
"There are some niggles, though. For example, you can't be signed in to the app and the website at the same time. If you're using the app, and someone signs in to the website, you'll be signed out."
Comment: Not a big deal, but worth noting.
"And adjusting the sensitivity for the motion detection is a bit odd. In the app Settings there's a slider with a percentage. It turns out that a higher percentage is more sensitive, but you have to dig around the support site to learn that."
Comment: I might well have designed the slider the same way, maybe I'm odd?
Okay, just read a bit more so I have another comment...
"The support team said that ports 500 and 4500 UDP need to be opened, and in the normal course of events, you would assume that means incoming traffic to those ports on your system. In fact, it's the other way round; you need to allow connections from UDP 4500 to come into your network."
Comment: What? Opening ports does mean allowing incoming traffic, so why is it the other way round?
Normally, when someone asks you to allow connections on port 4500, they mean to allow traffic from elsewhere to reach that port on your system. I had a firewall rule doing just that (UDP anything -> UDP 4500 on the LAN) for VPN. It's not sufficient.
What made Welcome work was, essentially, reversing that to UDP 4500 -> UDP anything on the LAN. It took a bit of wading through syslogs from the firewall to figure that out. It may be possible to narrow it down, as all the destination ports on the LAN were fairly high up, and the source address was a Netatmo server.
But nevertheless, when someone says "Open port 4500" you tend to assume that is the port on which they want to reach you. Not that it is the source port on their system, and that you actually need to open up a wider range on your firewall, based on the source.
UDP is session-less.
So you have an app on the inside of your firewall that sends a UDP packet to port 4500 on the outside.
Then the outside host replies in the other direction...
With TCP it is much easier, because the NAT (or more likely PAT) keeps track of TCP sessions. It knows when a connection is being made and it knows where it is in the process of being teared down. There is no such thing as a UDP connection, so when to allow that packet to go through or not?
And that's perfectly possible.
There are plenty of IP-cameras with motion detection out there that don't require any of this crud*. I have three cheap/low quality ones (better quality ones exist) sitting here unused that I've had for years. They have a simple web interface for local configuration and access - and which you can access from afar if you wish, or you can configure it to use FTP or SMTP.
When I played with them I was wary of the security of accessing the web interface over the intertubes, and chose not to use FTP; instead I set up a separate mailbox specifically for the cameras, and set them up to use SMTP: Pictures stored offsite, which I can check if I wish just by peeking in the mailbox.
* However, time moves on, and as more and more manufacturers realise there's an opportunity to grab that piece of our monthly income... OTOH, look at the first post from ZSn above. A perfectly good solution, despite someone (who has presumably partaken of the Cloudy-Kool-Aid) downvoting the post.
"see what we can do after the short break I'm taking"
Considering the target audience of El Reg I'd have thought IP cameras and a DIY security system built around them would be the first port of call followed by home user targertted all-in-one "solutions" as the addendum.
But thanks for the article anyway, it's still appreciated, even just for the info that I do not want any system that only works properly with a subscription and "cloud" storage of my potentially very, very, personal data.
Everyone's after a piece of your monthly income these days.
Or a piece of your personal life. There is no way you can gain access to a home system without having to cross network address translation somewhere, and unless you have your own online machine that puts you squarely into depending on a 3rd party, a 3rd party that now has to resist the offers of serious amounts of money to "share" all those lovely video streams (or they get bought once they have enough customers).
Well, no flaming way.
I accept the consequences of that, of course: I'll have to build my own setup. Sure, I'll use IP cameras (or it gets complicated to route video data), but cabled, not over WiFi. All it takes is one jammer and you're out with WiFi.
I have no idea why commercial camera solutions can't record to a NAS and you just log onto your NAS to see the pictures taken. It's not as if it's difficult to configure with the likes of Bonjour which means your NAS, your base/camera, or both should be announcing themselves on the network and the base/camera's webadmin/an app on your smartphone should let you point it to the NAS share.
Well, no idea apart from recurring subscription fees.
> I have no idea why commercial camera solutions can't record to a NAS and you just log onto your NAS to see the pictures taken.
I think the issue is simply that there are advantages in having off-site storage for security images. Your NAS system is fine until someone walks off with the NAS or burns the house down.
" Your NAS system is fine until someone walks off with the NAS or burns the house down."
But both those options are much less unlikely than compared to someone pilfering your video (and other data) from the comfort of their own chair across the other side of the world courtesy of the interwebs.
"Your NAS system is fine until someone walks off with the NAS or burns the house down."
I know the person to whom you replied suggested logging into the NAS to see the pictures - but the NAS can be used as a starting point.
The camera drops the pictures onto your NAS, then a piece of software under your control which is monitoring the NAS for new images could upload them to somewhere of YOUR choosing, under YOUR control, and/or email you a notification to say there are new pictures. (This of course means you are responsible for your own security).
In this scenario, neither the camera nor the NAS (and therefore the firmware supplied with them) go anywhere near the internet and - in particular - the camera manufacturer doesn't benefit from that slice of your monthly income (with the future option of changing the protocols and making that camera obsolete, in order to get the occasional larger slice when you are forced to upgrade). And the images still end up offsite.
Everyone wins. Except the camera manufacturer. And the burglar.
Working in the CCTV industry, I spend a lot of time replacing location based CCTV systems, with something that has a cloud uplink. The reason being that said location has just been broken into, and the CCTV unit was the first thing to go missing. Seriously, unless the unit is buried deep underground in a dynamite proof vault, thieves simply take or smash up the box, which they usually find within 60 seconds. Usual places to hide it are above the suspended ceiling, in the only locked cupboard, or behind the sink. For residential it's usually behind the bath panel or in the attic. People always think they have the spot that will never be found, only I've been asked to stick it in the same place on every job in the last N years. I know it, thieves know it. Only systems that upload offsite are of any use, and the way the industry is going, soon it's likely your insurance premium will rise unless your CCTV is streamed offsite.
My plan was to hide the real CCTV system behind a fake wall in the attic made with brick slips, while leaving a fake CCTV box with CCTV written on it in big white letters next to it with some cables going into somewhere hidden and secured. It'd fool me.
A few years ago I interrupted an attempted burglary by coming back home early; I then installed a motion-detector camera , connected it to my raspberry pi and got it to send me images. If I hadn't had my raspberry pi at the time I would have bought one of the slightly more expensive 'net-enabled cameras to do the same; these were still massively cheaper than the solutions presented here, and I expect their price hasn't gone up.
I "fucking know" that when you go to their web shop, and put it in your basket from a browser in the UK, the price is €199.
When you click the checkout option with PayPal, it remains, astonishingly, at €199, and offers to take that amount from my balance. The same happens when I work through the process using a credit card. The total amount shown, right up until the point where I would click to place an order, is still €199.
Honestly, if I thought they were selling it at a different price in the UK, I would have found out that price, rather than simply quoting the price in their web shop. Shipping, incidentally, is free, so the price remains €199. That's another thing I fucking know.
"[...] so the price remains €199."
I have found that buying things online in currencies other than GBP means that there is a surcharge for the financial handling. Sometimes this is not only a poor exchange rate but also has a fixed fee for the conversion.
On ebay.co.uk even when the seller is in Britain but advertising in USD or EUR things get tricky. Even the postage quoted in plain GBP gets covertly converted to the other currency - and then charged at a conversion rate to turn it back into a higher GBP.
How long do the 4 * CR123 cells last? It could become an expensive toy to feed if its not for 6 months or so.
Also, and I guess its out of the scope of a quick review, how secure are any of these? Have any been subject to a proper penetration test? Given the on going crap about home NAS being insecure, etc, I would be very weary of letting and of these products loose in my home/work.
Good question, and one it's hard to answer given the scope of reviews like this (PRs have a tendency to want their shiny things back; editors have a tendency to want their words on time).
The camera settings explicitly mention on the quality setting that higher quality may shorten battery life.
"How long do the 4 * CR123 cells last?"
I can only guess, but if they are continuously processing video looking for movement it might eat juice fairly hungrily. Which is why (well, that, and the smaller "dome" under the lens) I suspect they might actually use a good old fashioned PIR sensor to sense movement and only turn the camera on then - it could last for quite a while that way.
Ouch! ... Ain't that the truth...
Anyone been using these systems for a while, and can attest to whether remote tweaking and maintenance is necessary to keep these things running smoothly at holiday homes or for SME budget security etc?
Do they ever inexplicably hang? A while back we used on / off relays powered by pagers to reset similar devices. Not sure what's best to use today (least hackable)....
One can order video surveillance cameras or entire systems from several mail-order Chinese companies at a much lower price. Some even have depots in the UK, but interestingly, ordering from them the price is higher than ordering from China, only the delivery is much faster. There is an other type of camera without the net connectivity but it has 90 days standby time and one can really hide it very well. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find an other supplier apart from this German source:
http://www.pearl.de/a-PX8214-1322.shtml Sorry, it is in German but Google does a reasonable translation.
"Some even have depots in the UK, but interestingly, ordering from them the price is higher than ordering from China, only the delivery is much faster.
Probably a warranty "cost" built into the price. If it's supplied from a depot in the EU you get a mandatory two year guarantee but if you buy from China you effectively have no guarantee unless you want to chance shipping it back to China at your own expense.
A friend suffered acts of random vandalism so she installed a CCTV system that had motion sensing, infrared illumination, and remote app interrogation.
While away on holiday someone chucked a couple of bricks over her back fence which shattered a window.
She found the damage when she arrived home. The windy conditions and the bordering swaying trees meant she had to trawl a continuous recording to find the attack event. Eventually she spotted the couple of seconds in the night when a brick's trajectory was illuminated by the infrared. Checking the other cameras she found a figure walking past the front of her house that bracketed the time of the attack. As a council economy had switched off the street lights - all she had was an unidentifiable infrared blob.
"Checking the other cameras she found a figure walking past the front of her house that bracketed the time of the attack. As a council economy had switched off the street lights - all she had was an unidentifiable infrared blob."
Which just shows the cameras were uselessly positioned (hardly unusual) and that there weren't enough of them (also hardly unusual)
My local One Stop got targetted by armed robbers a few weeks ago. Despite a bunch of CCTVs around the premises, not one of them captured their faces and as only one was outside, whatever they were driving didn't show up either. The following day a complete new system with twice as many cameras was installed. Hopefully that won't get the same kind of test.
High-mounts are useful for capturing what's going on overall, but there's no substitute for putting a few at eye level or lower.
"A rule that releases the hungry lions. Yes, that would work."
Don't laugh, in some countries they do exactly that. Training cats has it's own issues, however, one big cat can replace several dogs, so for heavier-duty guard duties, they do well.
Feeding them can be a bit costly, they do go through a LOT of meat...
I'll admit I didn't read the article but I like the framing in the picture of the Banksy One Nation - BT Tower in the back ground looking very Orwellian to me... I did a search after seeing this photo and failed to find a picture that, imo, captured the nature of the Banksy message so well.
Sure you want a company have to full rights to your security stream?
3.1 The User Generated Content (the 'UGC') is all types of information and material... includes all data transmitted by your Netatmo Product.
3.2 ... you hereby grant to Netatmo a perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, ... on any of your UGC, in any media now existing or hereafter developed... You hereby waive any rights of publicity and privacy with respect to the UGC.
Non-exclusive rights for everything apart from privacy and publicity which you've waived... Which would mean they get exclusive rights.
As Netamo are a French company they should get slaughtered by the CNIL for not respecting family life or residence. Or maybe even marital situation if it puts their right to have an affair in danger. Well, in theory, but the practice remains to be seen, as is ever the way in France.
I've experimented with motion detection on several cheap-ish IP cameras and using 'motion' software on a Raspberry Pi but but I've found it impossible to detect people while avoiding false positives caused by changes in light level and shadows from clouds and trees. Specific testing of this feature would be of great interest.
I have a couple of the Axis IP cameras. There's very capable Linux system and microSD slot on board so nothing but PoE electricity is needed to make it run. No cloud computers, no Internet, no privacy problems, and no subscription needed for all the usual surveillance features. It can write to CIFS, FTP, SMTP, and central monitoring systems out of the box. You're free to log into the camera to install more software. Point it to a big NAS and you can keep as much continuous video as you'd like.
The downside is the initial cost but there's a long-term win in that it has no subscription fees and it's unlikely to need upgrading for a very long time.
"I have no idea why commercial camera solutions can't record to a NAS and you just log onto your NAS to see the pictures taken." What Kevin McMurtie said. They do exist.
In addition to the Axis cameras, I got some Foscams a few years back and they also supported writing frames to FTP at least. These are also Linux-based. The Foscams are like 1/4 the cost of an Axis, I got mine years back for like $60-80. But, I did get what I paid for -- lower specs, and (most problematically to me) if the power was dirty *THEY'D LOCK UP AND THE WATCHDOG TIMER WOULD FAIL TO REBOOT THEM!!!*. I ended up getting surge protectors and of course cheap camera + surge supressor still cost way less than a more expensive camera, the Foscams were like $60-80 a pop.
I've got a couple of HomeMonitor external HD cameras and they are great. Free lifetime cloud upload and very nice lenses and good sensitivity options. Install was a doddle too once I'd sourced a PoE supply and some nice flat Ethernet cable. I'd never heard of them before but a crime prevention officer recommend them to me as a fairly simple project for someone a little techie. There's always a deal every other month and I paid £120-140ish each for them... price I pay for a nice house in a not so nice area. Over a year and delighted, caught my one alarm trigger in beautiful color too!
The only thing I'm conscious of is that the thieves will get wise and start cutting the phone cable to properties in future. My hub does have a 4g fallback but I'm lucky if I get 2g so not ideal for all :( BT and Virgin do make their cable entry points pretty easy to spot.
Syntax Error, as someone who used to share a similar opinion of home CCTV to yours, all it takes is for a change in the nature of your neighbourhood to give you serious cause to reconsider those opinions. If you've never been placed in a situation where having a CCTV system could have discouraged something unpleasant from happening in the first place, or at least captured the evidence required to get the police interested in pursuing the matter further, then consider yourself very fortunate and pray your good fortune continues.
However please refrain from describing those of us who have been in such situations as being "a bit mental". Most of us are just ordinary people who'd love nothing more than to be left alone to get on with our lives in peace, and who'd never have considered installing CCTV had our home environments remained as they were.
Hmm, that Netatmo one seems to be missing something
"Are you still there?"
People seem to be getting far too comfortable with the idea of cameras everywhere, watching everything. Everyday getting closer to Orwell's vision, especially with the current breed of Commons Critter. I'm especially uncomfortable with the idea of a Cloud (AKA Somebody Else's Computer) connected system.
I have a cctv installed in my house that I got it through fire monitoring canada. They help in preventing crime. The hidden cctv cameras can help investigators to find out how exactly a has crime happened. I think the most important advantage of having a cctv is that they can help settle disputes. It is convenient in keeping records. Having a cctv installed in your home can eliminate fraudulent insurance claims and reduce premiums. They can even be viewed or controlled remotely over the internet.