A mother in Houston, Texas, was unaware that the private webcam in her two eight year old daughter’s room, that was intended to keep an eye on the girls, had been hacked.
Live footage of the two girls was being streamed online for anyone to view.
The live stream had been online for thousands to view since July. It was only when another mother came across the feed and created a Facebook group for Houston mothers with screen shots of the girl’s bedroom online in order to find the mother.
Another mother saw the post and informed the mother of the girls whose room was being live streamed.
The woman who found the stream was Shelby Ivies. She was looking for live satellite video feeds of earth with her son when she came across a free Android app called Live Camera Viewer. This is an app which contains streams from cameras in zoos and public places around the world, and this is where she found the young girl’s bedroom being streamed.
The stream had been live since 27th July with 571 likes.
How the hackers did it
It is believed that hackers were able to gain access to the live feed after they had obtained the family’s IP address after a phishing attack on a game from the daughter’s tablet. This allowed the hackers access to the family’s home network that the security camera was operating on.
This is becoming more common as the number of connected home cameras are being hacked. Hackers are finding ways to compromise feeds that are not secure. Security concerns have been raised by website Shodan, a search engine for connected devices around the world, who found that users could login to insecure cameras and view whatever the cameras were capturing – this included bedrooms and changing rooms.
How to protect your webcam!
Like with any digital device, you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself from online risks. As manufactures are adopting varying degrees of security levels, this can leave people vulnerable, so in order to protect yourselves, precautions need to be taken when setting up webcams.
The older the webcam, the less safe it may be as it may lack the encryption and strong security features that newer cameras commonly have. Setting up a new password and login details – instead of using the default ones supplied by the manufacture – can also help to secure webcams.
Having strong Wi-Fi passwords is also another way to secure a webcam from being hacked. Not giving away any personal details online, unless on a secure website, or to a verified person or company, is important as well.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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