70,000 Webcams Hacked: Could You Be Next?
According to Simon Rice, the group manager for technology at the Information Commisioner’s Office, one of the best things that you can do when getting a webcam is to change the default password. As the Tech Time [http://www.techtimes.com/articles/20681/20141121/is-your-webcam-spying-on-you-russian-site-streams-thousands-of-live-footage-to-voyeurs-delight.htm], more than 70,000 webcams have been accessed illegally, and the results of this internet predation have appeared on streaming sites in Russia.
On November 20, 2014, the news broke out from the UK. Thousands of webcams had been compromised and subject matter that ranged from the innocuous to the risque was being shown by Russian hackers to the internet at large. Live streaming footage was taken from places as diverse hospitals, offices, baby monitor cameras, bars and stores. While all of the hijacked webcams were a concern, the invasion of privacy through home webcams were the most serious.
According to the ICO, webcams made by Pansonic, Linksys and Foscam were particular targets, with around 14,000 of the cameras that were compromised having been from Foscam. Foscam came out to call the hijacking a violation of privacy, with Cheif Operating Officer Chase Rhymes comparing the attack to a theif creeping into an open window.
Essentially, these hijackings seem to occur because people do not change the default password on their webcams. When a person purchases a webcam, they need to get into the settings to change the password. If a password is set, the webcam can only be accessed by the person who owns it and the people that they direct to it. The default password that is set is standardized, and it is used for all webcams of that make and model produced by the company. In some cases, it is the password that is used for every device that company produces.
When consulted, the Federal Trade Commission stated that customers should only purchase cameras that were capable of encryption, meaning that the webcam should at the very least have password protection. At the other end of the scale are cameras that possess WPA2 encryption, which is the most difficult for people to get through. This is the same type of technology that is often used to guard wireless connections.
The FTC also states that the camera’s security should be kept up to date. Webcam security, much like anti-virus security, is only as good as its last update. This means that if the hackers update their technology, the security does as well. Security measures are always behind invasive measures, so it is extremely important to make sure that the security used is up to date and functional.
The incident that occurred with the violation of more than 70,000 webcams serves as a wake-up call to people who use the Internet to stream themselves and their activities. This is a reminder to update security and to be aware of the power of some of the software out there. ‘
ABC News states that while the Internet and webcams in general are very useful, they also make people vulnerable in ways that they may not have anticipated [http://abcnews.go.com/Business/webcam-spying-stop/story?id=27092216]. For anyone who puts themselves on the internet, this vulnerability must be acknowledged, and a proper defense must be prepared.
Understanding the risk of putting yourself online is an essential part of the Internet experience, so be prepared for what might come and be ready for it!