Menu
Governments act against webcam-snooping websites

Governments act against webcam-snooping websites

Insecam, which broadcast feeds from unsecured webcams, no longer works

Government officials in the US and the UK are warning people to secure their webcams after websites that broadcast the contents of those cameras have sprung up online.

One of the better-known sites, Insecam, appeared to have gone offline after the warnings Thursday, but at least one site that publishes similar content was still available.

The websites show footage from security cameras used by businesses and in people's homes, including CCTV networks that secure buildings and even cameras built into baby monitors.

Earlier Thursday, the UK.'s data protection watchdog warned of a website based in Russia that accesses thousands of webcams using their default logins and passwords, which it said can be easily found online.

The US Federal Trade Commission also weighed in, warning users to ensure video feeds are encrypted and that wireless routers are protected by passwords.

"Once you've bought your IP camera, check its security settings and keep its software up-to-date," wrote Nicole Vincent Fleming, a consumer education specialist with the FTC in a blog post.

Security experts have long warned that not changing the default credentials on such devices can allow them to be accessed by hackers.

The domain name Insecam.cc was registered through GoDaddy earlier this month, though whoever registered it chose to keep their registration details private in the "whois" domain directory.

The UK information commissioner has reportedly urged the Russian authorities to take down the site.

A similar website linked to in a Reddit discussion thread recently was still active Thursday and offers steams from around the world, searchable by country or by US state. That site says it finds the webcam streams unprotected on the Internet.

"We do not hack people's passwords," the site advised. "We simply locate cams hiding away in search engines, grab a snapshot, and present them to you here. The snapshots update every few hours."

One feed, titled "Living Room", shows an elderly woman in Seattle, apparently in her home. Another is from a barber shop in Tallahassee, Florida. It wasn't clear if some of the feeds are intended to be public or have been mistakenly left open.

Some webcam services use two-factor authentication, which requires a one-time passcode to access the service in addition to login credentials. That can help prevent unauthorized access if the login credentials are compromised.

"The ability to access footage remotely is both an internet cameras biggest selling point and, if not setup correctly, potentially its biggest security weakness," the U.K.'s information commissioner's office warned.

GoDaddy, where insecam.cc and insecam.com were registered, said it's not responsible for the sites because the content is hosted on a different service.

"This means that any of the content appearing when you visit the website is not on our servers and we do not have control over it. Since we do not host the content of the website, users would need to file a complaint with the Web hosting provider," said GoDaddy spokesperson, Nick Fuller.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwaredata protectionU.S. Federal Trade CommissionInformation Commissioner's Office

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments