Doggie Web Cam

Doggie Web Cam: Safe or Sorry?

Only the best care for my dog.

On occasion when I leave and must leave my trusty pet behind, he doesn’t go to Doggy Day Care, he doesn’t get kenneled. He gets an in-home sitter with a complete book of instructions, facts, photos, complete medical history, back up plan and everything else you could think to share with a dog sitter. Yes, I’m “that guy”.

So, I hear you can watch your dog online and push a button to talk to your dog?

Please, take my money.

Doggie Web Cam

I researched and interrogated the poor sales clerk at the local electronics store to make sure I was getting the right surveillance camera for proper dog-watching. It had 120 degree angle range so I could see the door, doggie door, food and water bowls and favorite napping location. Within minutes I had an account to the cloud service, mobile app installed on the phone and was recording live. Literally, minutes. The process couldn’t have been easier.

Then, My Router Failed.

My wonderful home router was perfect for the average home internet service and it finally bit the dust. The new swanky router I had purchased came with software that allows the user to see live, how many connections are live on the system, and to where. This is not your grandma’s router, and not an average home quality router.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed over 3 pages of connections coming from my various computers, laptops, tablets, mobile devices and whatever else has been connected to the internet over time. What a great time to clear everything off and see what’s really going on. Everything was shut down but for one computer and my doggie web cam.

3 pages of connections. Still.

Reconnaissance Mission

I start plugging in IP addresses into WhoIs lookups to see just who I’m connected to, knowingly or otherwise. The answers I get seem fishy. Yikes. Have I been hacked? What’s going on?

Shutting down the doggie web cam shows that 3 pages go to 20 entries within seconds. Maybe it was a firmware update? Or, something got “stuck”, I don’t know…I’m a “Joe Homeowner” who doesn’t really fully understand the internet of things, and I don’t want to. I just want to know my dog is OK while I’m not there fussing over him in person.

Doggie Cam Debriefing

In the end, the camera I purchased from a trusted company, with a brand name, brand new, couldn’t have been easier to install. And couldn’t have been easier to send data to over 100 sources, in various countries and undefinable places.

This is my home. My dog. My privacy, not going directly to the cloud as the box and sales clerk guaranteed. It was going over 100 places all over the world. And what? I don’t know? Geo-location? Live streaming video? I don’t know and I have no way to know.

I feel violated.

Trust No One

Call me crazy to put on my tinfoil hat, but despite doing my homework, I was duped. I was taken. I fell for it. I fear the day someone buys this camera thinking they are watching their children and making memories (as the box states, so you “don’t miss a single memory”) and they find out their data has been used maliciously.

Bottom line – if you’re going to leave town and get a doggie cam, consider getting a surveillance cam with self-hosted DVR and internet-connected device-specific access. It’s more than a 5 minute set up and well worth keeping your stream safer.

Do your homework before you go on your next vacation with a doggie web cam to “watch over your house”.

You never know who’s actually watching.