Considering that every third Aussie has at least one security camera in their homes, this is a major threat, says NordVPN.
“Hackers have nothing to do with this threat. The website streams cameras that are not protected by passwords or still have the default passwords. By doing this, they claim to highlight a serious security issue that hackers can also exploit. One way or another, this is a serious breach of privacy,” notes NordVPN cybersecurity expert Daniel Markuson.
How did the cameras end up being streamed online?
All the cameras on the website are IP cameras, so they have a built-in functionality that allows their owner to access the feed through the internet from anywhere.
If the camera is not secured with a password, its feed can be found on Google. While the feed links are not indexed, almost all include words like “live feed” or the camera model in the title tag.
Advanced search operators (“intitle:” for example) help find links that are not indexed, which is how they appear on websites like Insecam.
“Googling cameras that are not password-secured is not illegal, and that is why Insecam is still being updated daily,” says Markuson.
Another way IP cameras can be compromised is if hackers intercept the home’s internet connection. They can then access the feed and use it to blackmail the camera’s owner.
How can you protect your security camera?
“If you find your camera being streamed on a website like Insecam, you can request the website owners to remove the streaming link. They promise to remove the link and the feed if the camera’s owners contact them,” suggested Markuson.
NordVPN lists the following tips how to protect yourself:
1. Check your camera’s password settings. Set up your IP camera to require a password. The password should be complex, unique, and consist of no less than 12 characters. According to NordPass research, people often fail to change their admin passwords. In fact, the most popular password in the US is "guest," which is also a common admin password.
2. Enable your camera’s security features. If you bought a camera that encrypts data transmitted via the internet, turn this feature on. And always update your device with the latest security patches.
3. Hide your online traffic with a VPN connection set up on your router. If you set up a VPN, like NordVPN, on your router, you can connect and secure any number of gadgets with a single device slot. Any device that connects to it, including your home security camera, will automatically be private on the internet.