PIA spoke with Alex Song, founder and CEO of AlfredCamera, to talk about the security benefits his platforms offer businesses and individuals, how they keep video streaming secure, and what cybersecurity challenges are being addressed.
Private Internet Access: Tell me about AlfredCamera and what is your flagship product?
Alex Song: AlfredCamera is a leading IoT security brand committed to making security affordable for everyone. Our flagship product is a mobile app that turns your old, unused smartphones into full-featured home security cameras.
AlfredCamera has received over 50 million downloads and received exceptional user ratings on both iOS/Android platforms, reflecting our position as the most trusted video surveillance app on the market.
In 2022, we launched our first hardware security camera, AlfredCam, expanding AlfredCamera’s service offering from home security software to hardware devices.
PIA: Who is your ideal customer: business or personal?
AS: As wireless security cameras continue to gain popularity, video surveillance has become widely accepted by families, pet owners, and small business owners.
AlfredCamera currently works in over 150 countries, and it’s clear that certain ways of using it are more common in certain regions. For example, almost half of users in the US use AlfredCamera for home security, while in countries like India and Brazil it is often used by small business owners as an affordable surveillance option. We found that these countries have a higher percentage of business tracking compared to the US and the UK.
PIA: What features does AlfredCamera have besides video streaming?
AS: Our favorite features include motion detection, person detection, continuous recording, two-way talk, siren, night vision, and free cloud video storage. Motion detection allows security cameras to start recording only when motion is detected, and continuous recording ensures 24/7 surveillance. Continuous recording is one of AlfredCamera’s latest features, launched back in May. Unlike many apps, AlfredCamera can record 24/7 if the signal drops, whether it’s the result of bad Wi-Fi or a short-term power outage.
With two-way conversation, users can communicate with loved ones in real time. In the event of a break-in, you can also easily use the same feature to scare away intruders with a loud siren.
PIA: Which smartphones are compatible with the AlfredCamera system? Do I need the latest versions or can I use an older phone that is not in use?
AS: We promote the idea of DIY, and thus repurposing old phones into surveillance cameras. So, no, you don’t need the latest smartphone to use our security camera app. The AlfredCamera app works on Android and iOS devices. See below for information on compatible devices.
You can set almost any smartphone and tablet as a viewing device as long as it works in the system above Android 5 or iOS 10 (meaning models from 9 years ago!). The same requirements for the Viewer device apply if you are also using AlfredCam (Alfred’s own hardware camera). We suggest you use your everyday phones as viewing devices.
As long as you can find the Alfred app in the Google Play Store or App Store, you can use your device as a camera.
- Android Android browser 5; Android camera 4.1 or higher (for a better experience, operating systems higher than Android 5 highly recommended)
- iOS: iOS 10 or higher
PIA: What online privacy measures does Alfred Camera take to ensure that no one can join and view another user’s video stream?
AS: AlfredCamera uses Google and Apple login process to support multi-factor authentication on Android/iOS. In addition, the connection is established on the basis of end-to-end encryption, which avoids server transfers to further enhance user privacy and security.
As product developers, we have the ultimate responsibility to implement practices and methods to improve our security infrastructure, platforms, protocols, etc. to protect the privacy and security of our users. We prioritize efforts to educate users on what they can do with our product design.
Users should pay attention to password and account hygiene. We advise users to log in via 2FA and not share passwords. If accounts need to be shared, our Trust Circle feature allows users to securely share access with family and friends.
If users log in on different devices, we will immediately notify the user and provide in-app locking to prevent others from accessing the account holder’s data if the device is stolen. We also provide users with the option to delete all account information from our database if they wish to do so.
PIA: What are the biggest cybersecurity threats AlfredCamera has seen and how have you dealt with them?
AS: AlfredCamera faces potential security threats like other online consumer services. We make every effort to identify and thus avoid possible security risks that may arise from data transmission, and we base our services on state-of-the-art operating systems and cloud services. We’ve made sure that the security components we use are open source and reproducible.
PIA: Does AlfredCamera work with a VPN as an additional way to protect user privacy and protect against hackers and spies?
AS: The peer-to-peer technology used by AlfredCamera has VPN-like characteristics and can perform end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy and effectively prevent hacking.
AlfredCamera’s transmission protocol is compatible with most VPN services on the market. If users choose to use a VPN service, AlfredCamera will still work properly. However, users are advised to avoid using VPN services from untrusted sources to avoid unnecessary risks.