Advice on Security Cameras

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Advice on Security Cameras

Elias M. Mariani
Hi list,
I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
brand of cameras.
Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.

I'm looking for:
- Not overpriced cameras.
- They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered under a roof.
- I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
single platform.
- Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
- WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
each camera.
- Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
- the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras is a must.

Again, sorry for the off-topic but were would I find a better place to
ask about surveillance and security ? :D

Cheers and happy new year.
Elias.

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Johan Mellberg


> 1 jan. 2019 kl. 18:46 skrev Elias M. Mariani <[hidden email]>:
>
> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.
> Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
> security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
> smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
> that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.
>
> I'm looking for:
> - Not overpriced cameras.
> - They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered under a roof.
> - I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
> single platform.
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
> - WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
> each camera.
> - Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
> - the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras is a must.
>
> Again, sorry for the off-topic but were would I find a better place to
> ask about surveillance and security ? :D
>
> Cheers and happy new year.
> Elias.
>

Hi,

I don't know much about available options but I personally like the Netatmo Presence cameras although those are WiFi-only and might not be suitable for your requirements (as far as I know you HAVE to use their smartphone app for example, and set up an account to control your camera). I’d otherwise suggest having a look at Zoneminder if you want centralised recording. They seem to support lots of cameras and I think they have some recommendations on supported hardware. Haven’t had time to dig in myself though.

/Johan

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Kaya Saman-2
Hi. For this type of setup Zoneminder is great. I have no experience running it on OpenBSD though. As for cameras have you looked at HikVision? They are very reasonable pricewise when compared with say Axis.
They have high quality 4k cameras even which are priced under $150 (US). A good solution here according to many cctv guys is to set them to 5fps though they do reach 25fps/pal or 30fps/ntsc.
Regards,
Kaya 


Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
-------- Original message --------From: Johan Mellberg <[hidden email]> Date: 1/1/19  22:15  (GMT+00:00) To: OpenBSD General Misc <[hidden email]> Subject: Re: Advice on Security Cameras


> 1 jan. 2019 kl. 18:46 skrev Elias M. Mariani <[hidden email]>:
>
> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.
> Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
> security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
> smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
> that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.
>
> I'm looking for:
> - Not overpriced cameras.
> - They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered under a roof.
> - I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
> single platform.
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
> - WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
> each camera.
> - Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
> - the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras is a must.
>
> Again, sorry for the off-topic but were would I find a better place to
> ask about surveillance and security ? :D
>
> Cheers and happy new year.
> Elias.
>

Hi,

I don't know much about available options but I personally like the Netatmo Presence cameras although those are WiFi-only and might not be suitable for your requirements (as far as I know you HAVE to use their smartphone app for example, and set up an account to control your camera). I’d otherwise suggest having a look at Zoneminder if you want centralised recording. They seem to support lots of cameras and I think they have some recommendations on supported hardware. Haven’t had time to dig in myself though.

/Johan

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Ipsen S Ripsbusker-2
In reply to this post by Elias M. Mariani
On Tue, Jan 1, 2019, at 17:46, Elias M. Mariani wrote:
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.

See uvideo(4).

Linux has more options, including cameras of better video quality.
I run GNU/Linux on one computer in order to use a Logitech BRIO.

On Tue, Jan 1, 2019, at 17:46, Elias M. Mariani wrote:
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)

What do you want to do from the Android / browser?

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Elias M. Mariani
Thanks all for the help.

I will check out Zoneminder and the cameras that you have recommended.

> What do you want to do from the Android / browser?
Just look at the cameras from outside the house, I don't need any type
of functionality besides that.

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Nick Holland
In reply to this post by Elias M. Mariani
On 1/1/19 12:46 PM, Elias M. Mariani wrote:
> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use.

you've seen any sign of quality in those things? :)

> I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.
> Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
> security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
> smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
> that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.
>
> I'm looking for:
> - Not overpriced cameras.
> - They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered under a roof.
> - I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
> single platform.
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
> - WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
> each camera.
> - Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
> - the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras is a must.

Bringing it back to OpenBSD,

... just use SSH and port forwarding and an otherwise off-the-shelf
solution.  No add-on SW needed.

Did this with a friend's business.  Little OpenBSD box in their office
as a gateway, the DVR on one port (don't trust the security of the damn
things, so keep it off the business network) and the owner can click on
a PuTTY icon on their Windows desktop (or android or ...) to establish
the SSH connection (key, no PW to enter, yes I set this up for them,
took just a few minutes in their house), and a second click to bring up
the bookmarked browser-based app the thing used.  Neat thing is you
don't have to change the default PWs on the DVR now, so that's one less
thing to worry about.  Very non-computer-person user friendly -- "Click
here to connect to your office, then connect here to view the cameras".

Yes, I'd suggest an OpenBSD gateway to a commercial DVR security system
rather than rolling your own, if it is really to be a security system
(as opposed to maybe a, "who's at my front door?" or "what are the local
wildlife doing when I'm asleep?" cameras).  The police may need to
extract the video from it without your assistance if you are unavailable
(or worse) as part of whatever they are investigating and maintain a
chain of custody; this won't happen if you roll your own.  I'll admit I
hadn't thought of that until a police officer friend of mine started
telling me about the training he was taking on exactly this topic --
*they* need to be able to get the video out of the device in a timely
manner, and they have to explain to the judge and jury how it was done.

Nick.

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Ipsen S Ripsbusker-2
On Wed, Jan 2, 2019, at 04:22, Nick Holland wrote:

> Yes, I'd suggest an OpenBSD gateway to a commercial DVR security system
> rather than rolling your own, if it is really to be a security system
> (as opposed to maybe a, "who's at my front door?" or "what are the local
> wildlife doing when I'm asleep?" cameras).  The police may need to
> extract the video from it without your assistance if you are unavailable
> (or worse) as part of whatever they are investigating and maintain a
> chain of custody; this won't happen if you roll your own.  I'll admit I
> hadn't thought of that until a police officer friend of mine started
> telling me about the training he was taking on exactly this topic --
> *they* need to be able to get the video out of the device in a timely
> manner, and they have to explain to the judge and jury how it was done.
>
> Nick.
>

I am intrigued by this consideration.

Is it too complicated for them if there is a big, descriptive sign
pointing to a microSD card with a vfat partition of videos named by the
dates they correspond to?

I had a part in setting up a system that saved files like that and also
regularly copied them to a remote server. We used Raspberry Pi with the
Raspberry Pi camera because configuring the camera was easy and because
we already had the parts.

I had wanted to set it up so that we would lose at most a few seconds of
recordings if someone stole the camera computer. That is, videos would
be simultaneously recorded to files and streamed to the remote server,
and internet outages would be handled intelligently.  I don't remember
whether we actually set it up that way; someone else was more
enthusiastic about the project, so I was happy to let him take over.

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Christian Schulte
In reply to this post by Elias M. Mariani


Am 01.01.2019 um 18:46 schrieb Elias M. Mariani:
> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...

I would just pay attention to the cameras to support ONVIF. Most do.
Rest is a matter of using software supporting that and your specific use
cases.

Regards,
--
Christian

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Ed Ahlsen-Girard-2
In reply to this post by Elias M. Mariani
> From:       "Elias M. Mariani" <marianielias () gmail ! com>
> Date:       2019-01-01 17:46:25
>
> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.
> Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
> security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
> smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
> that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.
>
> I'm looking for:
> - Not overpriced cameras.
> - They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered
> under a roof.
> - I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
> single platform.
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
> - WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
> each camera.
> - Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
> - the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras
> is a must.
>
> Again, sorry for the off-topic but were would I find a better place to
> ask about surveillance and security ? :D
>
> Cheers and happy new year.

This might be helpful:

https://archive.fosdem.org/2018/schedule/event/openbsd_alarm_system/
--

Edward Ahlsen-Girard
Ft Walton Beach, FL

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

OpenBSD lists
In reply to this post by Elias M. Mariani
On 1/1/2019 9:46 AM, Elias M. Mariani wrote:

> Hi list,
> I'm thinking in installing some cameras in my private home, I have
> been looking for solutions, my concern is that I wish to be able to
> look the videos from outside the house and I'm a little paranoid about
> the quality of the software that the different vendors use. I have
> seen clusters of camaras that only work over ActiveX...
> I know that is a little off-topic but maybe someone knows about a good
> brand of cameras.
> Of-course one can always set a VPN tunnel trough OpenBSD for the
> security matter, OpenVPN works on Android so is easy to access from a
> smartphone. But I would prefer to have a single secure service running
> that adding a layer of complexity with the VPN.
>
> I'm looking for:
> - Not overpriced cameras.
> - They don't need to be "external cameras", they will be covered under a roof.
> - I need to set at least 4, so I need them to be accessible from a
> single platform.
> - Android / Browser friendly (not only IE plz...)
> - WiFi is not needed, I have a 12v supply and Ethernet connections for
> each camera.
> - Good video quality but I'm not looking for anything super great...
> - the ability to centralize recording and access to view the cameras is a must.
>
> Again, sorry for the off-topic but were would I find a better place to
> ask about surveillance and security ? :D
>
> Cheers and happy new year.
> Elias.
>
Anything that support RTP/RTSP works pretty well with OpenBSD and
FFMPEG.  I have FFMPEG listening for my cameras' streams, then tees the
output to a series of files (MP4) and to a socket where
nginx-rtmp-module is able to push it out via https (HLS).

I've been using some to monitor in and around the datacenter.  A bunch
of PoE-powered network cameras, hooked up to a PoE switch, forming an
air-gapped surveillance network and an OpenBSD box with a couple
high-capacity SSDs for storing video and a connection to the main
network for users to access the web server port.

I've been using Monoprice-branded cameras, but I bought them a few years
ago, not sure if the current models offer the same protocols.

A bit of advice for cameras outside:  You are going to want
outdoor-rated cameras even if they aren't getting hit directly with
rain.  Moisture in the air is still going to condense inside the camera
if there are any gaps in the case at all.  Eventually the lens is just
going to become a permanently foggy mess.

-CA
.

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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Stuart Henderson
In reply to this post by Kaya Saman-2
On 2019-01-01, kayasaman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi. For this type of setup Zoneminder is great. I have no experience running it on OpenBSD though.

There is an unfinished zoneminder port in openbsd-wip. I must say the
architecture looked rather overcomplicated to me ..

multimedia/motion is simpler and supports uvideo and some network cameras
but maybe too simple.

> As for cameras have you looked at HikVision? They are very reasonable pricewise when compared with say Axis.

HikVision and Dahua have good reasonably-priced cameras. I don't know
about other markets but in the UK most of these seem to stop their
distributors showing prices publically. (There was a point hikvision
tried to restrict distribution to only "official" installers too, but
this stupidity seems to have subsided a bit since). Haven't tried them
via OpenBSD though. (Most of the decent installations I have seen use
Milestone's software on Windows which they are fairly happy with).

I wouldn't say anything good for security for any of this type of device.
It is all crap. IMHO put cams on at least a dedicated vlan if not fully
separate network infrastructure and don't let them have access to or from
the internet. If you need to connect to them from outside the network,
bounce your connections off another machine.

Another reply mentioned onvif. This is no magic "it will do useful
things" bullet and it is pretty bare bones. If you have software in
mind then look for cameras particularly listed as being supported.


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Re: Advice on Security Cameras

Paolo Aglialoro
Hi,

zoneminder is, as Stuart said, overcomplicated, plus unmantained and unable
to catch the more modern streams from IP cams.
The best free alternative is SHINOBI https://shinobi.video which is based
on java and ported on linux, mac and wi(n)dows, I do not know it it would
be feasible an OpenBSD port (theorically yes
https://gitlab.com/Shinobi-Systems/Shinobi/tree/master/INSTALL contains the
stuff).

On amd64 platform it works great!
I am soon going to install it on an ODROID-HC1, although I read around that
on arm (unsupported) platform motion detection is crippled.


On Fri, Jan 4, 2019 at 7:07 PM Stuart Henderson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2019-01-01, kayasaman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Hi. For this type of setup Zoneminder is great. I have no experience
> running it on OpenBSD though.
>
> There is an unfinished zoneminder port in openbsd-wip. I must say the
> architecture looked rather overcomplicated to me ..
>
> multimedia/motion is simpler and supports uvideo and some network cameras
> but maybe too simple.
>
> > As for cameras have you looked at HikVision? They are very reasonable
> pricewise when compared with say Axis.
>
> HikVision and Dahua have good reasonably-priced cameras. I don't know
> about other markets but in the UK most of these seem to stop their
> distributors showing prices publically. (There was a point hikvision
> tried to restrict distribution to only "official" installers too, but
> this stupidity seems to have subsided a bit since). Haven't tried them
> via OpenBSD though. (Most of the decent installations I have seen use
> Milestone's software on Windows which they are fairly happy with).
>
> I wouldn't say anything good for security for any of this type of device.
> It is all crap. IMHO put cams on at least a dedicated vlan if not fully
> separate network infrastructure and don't let them have access to or from
> the internet. If you need to connect to them from outside the network,
> bounce your connections off another machine.
>
> Another reply mentioned onvif. This is no magic "it will do useful
> things" bullet and it is pretty bare bones. If you have software in
> mind then look for cameras particularly listed as being supported.
>
>
>