Installing anti-theft video cameras at homes and offices has become common in big cities in Vietnam, but some are useless because they produce low-quality images that can’t recognize burglars.
A wide range of these products are available in Vietnam now, with many of them having no certificate of origin. They are often manufactured in China.
An owner may be cheated and lose the management of his wireless internet security cameras if the passwords of the devices are lost or hacked.
In cases like this, the anti-theft cameras that are controlled by thieves are used to monitor owners.
Maze of low-quality products
After installing an anti-theft video camera, a home owner in District 10 of Ho Chi Minh City realized that the images produced by the device are so blurred that he couldn’t recognize the number plate of the motorbike of the thief who sneaked into his house.
In short, the camera is only useful to show how a thief entered a house, but it can’t help police to determine the identity of the criminal.
At a shop named LS on Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh Street an employee described different kinds of security cameras.
One product that was made in China was offered at VND1 million (US$48).
“This one is to be installed on the ceiling, and is a good one with a resolution of 700 TVL. The device is integrated with an infrared lamp to record images both day and night,” the worker said.
TVL stands for ‘TV Line’ and is the unit used to measure the clarity and fineness of an image.
Pointing to another camera, the employee said it costs VND8 million ($385) and can be controlled by a computer.
The prices do not include a hard disk to save images, which costs VND2.2 million ($106), and peripheral equipment worth around VND1 million ($48).
Japanese products much higher quality
An employee at another camera shop admitted that most anti-theft video cameras being sold on the Vietnamese market are manufactured in China and Taiwan. A similar product made by a Japanese company costs two or three times more.
The cheapest video camera at the shop is VND800,000 ($38), while the most expensive is VND17 million ($817), excluding installation cost and wiring.
He added that a micro chip from a Japanese device produces better images even though its resolution is less than a similar product from China.
A Chinese product with a resolution of 1,300 TVL may produce images that are worse than that of a Japanese product with a resolution of just 700 TVL.
An investigative policeman admitted that his unit has received images related to thefts but they have been mainly used for reference, as they are not clear enough to be evidence.
Ngo Anh Tuan, vice chairman of the internet security firm Bkav Corporation, said almost 1,000 security camera systems installed at offices and private houses in Vietnam are likely to be ‘broken into’ because their owners use the default passwords of the manufacturers.
A person who obtains the passwords of the devices can control the machines even though it is illegal.
A security camera must be set to change its passwords to ensure security, he added.
When the password of a camera system is held by a hacker, he can use the device to monitor its owner.