Your webcam is probably being hacked by Russians

20 November 2014

hackers Today's 'not at all creepy. Oh no' news now, and basically don't get your bits out in front of a webcam ever again.

A Russian website is being shut down for streaming images stolen from the likes of baby monitors, bedroom cameras and CCTV.

The site has been featuring live feeds from basically anywhere that's broadcasting on cam, including a gym in Manchester, a bedroom in Birmingham and an office in Leicester. The site's database shows listings for 4,591 cameras in the US, 2,059 in France and 1,576 in the Netherlands.

The UK’s information commissioner Christopher Graham urged the Russian authorities to take immediate action to take down the site, but Russia being Russia at the moment, there'll probably try and make an international incident out of it.

Graham also said he also would be working with the Federal Trade Commission in the US to try to force the site to close if the Russian authorities failed to cooperate.

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Graham said: “I'm very concerned about what this [website] shows and I want the Russians to take this down straight away … We now want to take very prompt action working with the Federal Trade Commission in the States to get this thing closed down. But the more important thing is to get the message out to consumers to take those security measures. If you don’t need remote access to a webcam then switch off that function altogether.”

WEBCAM HACK

Graham also said consumers were too laid back about security: “We have got to grow up about this sort of thing,”

“These devices are very handy if you want to have remote access to make sure your child is OK, or the shop is alright, but everyone else can access that too unless you set a strong password. This isn’t just the boring old information commissioner saying ‘set a password’. This story today is an illustration of what happens if you don’t do that. If you value your privacy put in the basic security arrangements. It’s not difficult.”

The Russian site has been online for a month, and has already been the cause of some alert around the world. The UK have known about it for just over 24 hours.

So, watch out next time you do a broadcast. Your audience may be more global than you thought.

TOPICS:   Technology

5 comments

  • Connor
    If you have a built in webcam on your device it's a good idea to block it up when it's not in use with, for example, a sticker or something. That way if it gets remotely accessed/activated nothing can be seen through it.
  • Connor
    I get the feeling that the next generation of built in webcams will have a little flip down lid or something to block it when not in use. That'd be handy.
  • No c.
    I will start shaving me nuts in front of mine!
  • Mad B.
    Mine gets pointed at the ceiling whenever it is not being used; been doing this for years as webcam hacking has been around for years!!!!
  • Father J.
    It's hardly hacking - all the webcams featured have been accessed because the dimwits who bought them didn't change the default password. Anyway the site has gone now.

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