November 20th, 2014, 21:41 PM
Russian Website Streams Footage From Thousands of Hacked Webcams
The public is being warned about a Russian-based website which has been found to be broadcasting thousands of feeds of live video footage from inside homes and businesses around the world, including over 4,000 in the U.S., 2,000 in France and 500 in the UK. The footage has been accessed by hacking into personal webcams, CCTV cameras and even baby monitors using weak or default passwords.
The site includes footage of a child’s bedroom in Birmingham in the UK obtained from a baby monitor, as well as footage from inside a UK office, a gym and a shop interior, obtained from CCTV networks supposedly used to keep the companies and businesses secure.
The purpose of the website is to highlight poor cyber security, a person claiming to be the administrator told Sky News.
They wrote that broadcasting the footage was the only way to "contact a million" users. "All these cameras were viewed by a lot of users and (the) camera's owners have no chance to know about it for many years," they said. "Only mass media can help users to understand the importance to set a password."
The footage has been obtained from cameras using default passwords or without any passwords at all, allowing hackers to use software and search tools to scan the internet for feeds that can be accessed using the camera's' default setting.
The most commonly listed camera brand on the website was Chinese-made Foscam, followed by Linksys and then Panasonic.
A Linksys spokesperson told the BBC: “We are still trying to determine which Linksys IP cameras are referenced on the site. We believe they are older Linksys IP cameras which are no longer being manufactured.
“For these cameras we do not have a way to force customers to change their default passwords. We will continue to educate consumers that changing default passwords is extremely important to protect themselves from unwanted intruders.”
Over 500 cameras in the UK accessible this way have been listed on the website, as well as 4,591 cameras in the U.S., 2,059 in France and 1,576 in the Netherlands.