Authorities have discovered a Russian website that is streaming videos from more than 100 hacked places around the world. The site is streaming footage of a baby playing in South Korea, an empty rib from Absecon, New Jersey or cattle feeding in a small town in Austria. The Russian website is streaming live footage from people’s bedrooms, shops, office buildings, Laundromats barns and stables. How is this possible?
The experts are warning everyone with a webcam, home security camera or a baby monitor that they need to change the default password into a personal password, one that is hard to get hacked.
The Russian website takes advantage of the fact that the users who have recently acquired a camera use the default passwords to get the devices work. Passwords like “1234” are the most common and hackers can guess them easily. There are also many camera manufacturers that put the default passwords online. The users go on that site, get the passwords but they do not change it into something else after first logging in. The Britain Information Commissioner’s Office advises everyone to change the default password after getting a new video device like a camera, otherwise they might risk to be streamed online on the Russian website.
Simon Rice, from the ICO Group said in a statement:
“The ability to access footage remotely is both an internet camera’s biggest selling point and, if not set up correctly, potentially its biggest security weakness. Remember, if you can access your video footage over the internet, then what is stopping someone else from doing the same?”
The ICO counterparts in the US, Canada, Australia and China are warning the citizens about the Russian website that streams footage from people’s home without permission. The website also offers coordinates to where the cameras are located, making it very easy for intruders to break in and steal. The officials have not made public the identity of the Russian website for fear that it will contribute to driving traffic on it.
Authorities also said that they have no legal power in Russia so they cannot close the website, thus it’s better to just warn people to change their passwords.