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Webcam security: proof it works

BBC News is running a great story about a thief who was caught by a webcam setup as a security camera. It was run with motion detection software – when the camera detected movement it begun to record a video stream of the burglary, which was then emailed to a remote email address.

I’m pleased it worked, because I have a similar setup at home. I’m thinking of installing a second camera to get an even better view of the home.

The nice thing about it is that I can also log in and check what’s going on at home from any Internet connection.

When you think about how much a burglar alarm can cost per month (often around £10pm+), and how many people have always-on broadband – it’s surprising more crimes aren’t being filmed like this. I bought our webcams for £15 each.

If you do setup such a system in your home, be sure that it’s not detectable or accessible without proper authentication. is a great website which exposes security cameras that are publicly available, almost certainly not intentionally.

Published in News Thoughts and Rants


  1. Anonymous Anonymous

    Mine do not have an internal webserver – not the webcams themselves.

    I use a generic USB webcam and an old version of Conquercam ( New versions are now shareware, but previous versions were freeware.

    It has a webserver in it, but you should not expose directly through your firewall because anyone who does a portscan on your IP will find it. Instead you should proxypass Apache or something to the WebCam port (say 8080) and expose Apache’s port 80 through your firewall. That way you can use Apache’s authentiction to control access.


  2. Which webcams are you using? Do they have an integreated webserver?

  3. As this are USB webcams, they’re unlikely to run with Linux…
    Do you know some cheap webcams with an internal webserver? The best would be with a wireless antenna, but this is not required…

  4. Remember, if you ARE to setup a webcam security system you MUST put up signs stating “Warning CCTV in operation” or you may find your ‘evidence’ non-submittable in court! (sucks huh?).

    I’m also in the process of building a webcam security system using 3 webcams. They are simple USB ones, but I’m using USB extenders (usb >> cat5 >> usb) to allow me to place them more than 5m away from the PC.

    Ideally, I’d like IP / wireless units, but at over £100 a pop, I think not! Good to see others protecting themselves against these thieving scambags..


  5. Gordo Gordo

    I seem to remember seeing good reviews for a Peak Wireless Network Camera. Available here for £65.42
    (was cheapest price I could see after reading review couple of months back).
    Low cost but not remote pan/scan.

    BTW . Foz, Can you tell us more about USB extenders that you mention. I have never heard of these but they sound interesting.
    Any particular models to look for.



  6. Charles Moncur Charles Moncur

    I have also set up a web camera myself. I am using a QuickCam Communicate STX from Logitech as a webcamera and the MonitorCam software available from Have been using it for a few days now. And I am quite happy with my system.

  7. dan dan

    Make sure it sends video stream to another area as they will steal your computer also! Don’t record on the built in hard drive!!

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