LONDON: Russian hackers post thousands of webcam live streams online without their explicit knowledge or permission. Countries with leaked webcams include the US with 4,591 cameras, France with 2,059, and 1,576 in the Netherlands.
Other nations affected by the privacy breach, including Nicaragua, Pakistan, Kenya, Paraguay and Zimbabwe.
The issue has arisen as a result of people not using passwords on their webcams, or sticking with the default generic password that came with the camera out of the box. Both of these options make for easy picking, and actually rely on very little hacking effort to accomplish a breach.
Guillermo Lafuente, Security Consultant at MWR Info Security, explained the issue “In order to find exposed cameras, an attacker can simply use an online search engine.”
“The main problem with CCTV cameras and webcams is that they often allow remote access by default, and are preconfigured with credentials which are easy to find online or to guess.”
He advised users of IP cameras to disable remote access unless you need it, and to use strong, difficult-to-guess passwords. “It is very easy to find cameras that are still vulnerable to exploits which are several years old,” he added. “It [is] very easy for an attacker to access the camera and watch it live remotely.”
Affected camera brands include Linksys, Panasonic, and the China-based Foscam.