IT Blogwatch Security

Russians easily 'hack' webcams, like others have for YEARS

In Russia, webcam watches YOU!

IT Blogwatch Security

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Webcam hacking is in the news and it's bad stuff. But... haven't people been circumventing webcam security using default passwords for years now? And how could anyone forget recent news about the NSA (and other intelligence agencies) hacking webcams?

Add a few Russians to this mix of creepy characters then suddenly -- as if by magic -- webcam security becomes the hottest topic of the hour. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers changed their default passwords years ago.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.

Jeremy Kirk tells a scary story:

Government officials in the U.S. 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...appeared to have gone offline...but at least one site that publishes similar content was still available.  MORE

Stephanie Mlot shares this disturbing thought:

[Hackers] infiltrated a number of systems...and are streaming views of offices, gyms, pubs, shops, even the inside of a child's bedroom.  MORE

Bob Unruh explains how easy it is to circumvent security with default passwords:

[Intercepted] cameras are using the pre-programmed security codes installed by the manufacturers and left unchanged by the consumers. Default user names such as "admin" and passwords such as "12345" can easily be broken.  MORE

Alex Hern reviews highbrow Reddit comments:

Commenters on the discussion site Reddit pored over compromised security camera feeds linked from the Russian website...screenshotting and sharing pictures of naked or half-dressed women.

Redditors initially responded that the concept was "just creepy". One asked whether the site was even legal...and another said that on browsing through, they saw a lot of sleeping children, and "got creeped out".  MORE

And Michael Ide marches into the fray: [You're fired -Ed.]

In the latest "Russian hacker story" you may have read that a Russian website is streaming video from hacked webcams around the world, playing into both privacy fears and Russophobia at the same time. [The] website appears to be more of a public service announcement than an...attempt to spy on people.

[The] cameras weren't hacked in any meaningful way. The website [tries] the default password on any camera that it finds connected to the internet, and if the default password works it starts streaming the video. If the default password doesn't work it simply leaves the camera alone.  MORE

But Ingrid Majer raises a valid point:

Hilarious. NSA & partners do warnings, but Russia?  MORE

Meanwhile, Steve Jordan wakes up:

Good morning to anybody from Russia spying at me through my webcam. I apologise for the bags under my eyes and my fluffy dressing gown.  MORE


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings and Stephen Glasskeys, who curate the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites…so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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