Originally published November 26 2014
Is the whole world watching your private home security camera? 73,000 now online
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) No question, we live in a "wired" world, but increasingly, we also live in a world where, no matter where we go, we are tracked -- either through our vehicle, our cell phone or by some form of direct surveillance. In addition, our personal privacy is at risk of becoming a quaint anachronism, thanks to the Technological Age, unless or until lawmakers and President Obama step up and begin enforcing the Fourth Amendment.
As reported by Gizmodo, there is a new website that makes it much easier to invade our privacy by collecting streaming footage from more than 73,000 IP (internet protocol) cameras whose owners have not changed their default passwords.
The site, Insecam.com, claims to be doing what it is doing only to bring awareness to the issue of online security. But obviously, the technique -- streaming unsecured video from around the world -- is an ironic way to make that point, indeed.
According to various reports, the site features feeds from IP cameras all over the world. In the U.S., there are 11,000 featured, NetworkWorld.com reported. A quick browse pulls up parking lots and stores but also bedrooms and living rooms where people keep their internet cameras active.
Sicko peepers paradise
"This site has been designed in order to show the importance of the security settings," the site's homepage says. However, what is also clear is that it is running and profiting from advertising.
As reported by NetworkWorld.com:
There are 40,746 pages of unsecured cameras just in the first 10 country listings: 11,046 in the U.S.; 6,536 in South Korea; 4,770 in China; 3,359 in Mexico; 3,285 in France; 2,870 in Italy; 2,422 in the U.K.; 2,268 in the Netherlands; 2,220 in Colombia; and 1,970 in India. Like the site said, you can see into "bedrooms of all countries of the world." There are 256 countries listed plus one directory not sorted into country categories.
That's a lot of peeping Toms.
Now, adds Gizmodo, the streaming feeds bear little difference from what a determined individual could already find via Google or Shodan, the latter of which allows people to look for connected devices like IP cameras. But the website goes on to put all of its captured streams "into one easily and creepily accessible place," says Gizmodo.
An attorney told Motherboard that the peeper site is "a stunningly clear violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" in the United States (again, not to mention the Fourth Amendment), because it obviously involved hacking into a person's password-protected account -- even if that account is using a default password.
Then again, it is not clear who owns or operates the site; it is registered with GoDaddy, and the IP address is linked to Moscow.
"Security cameras are supposed to offer security, not provide surveillance footage for anyone to view," NetworkWorld.com reported. "Businesses may be fine with that, but cameras that are not truly locked down in homes invite privacy invasions. In this case, it's not just one manufacturer."
'Reverse address look-up'?
While there are a number of stores, malls, warehouses, parking lots and other businesses to view, there are also far too many bedrooms, scenes with baby cribs, kitchens and living rooms for comfort. All of those were obviously within homes, where people feel that they are at their safest. In reality, though, they are all at risk of being victimized by anyone who has no morals and has no problem with invading someone's privacy.
As further reported by NetworkWorld.com, seasoned computer experts can make more out of the footage than meets the eye:
The site lists the camera manufacturer, default login and password, time zone, city and state. The results for each camera are also theoretically pinpointed with longitude and latitude on Google Maps. That can be opened in another browser window, zoomed into, converted to Google Earth, then Street View in hopes of seeing an address to take into a reverse phone look-up.
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