Imagine the most private moments happening inside your home being broadcast live online for the world to see. That’s exactly what’s happening to thousands of people who think they are keeping their families safe.
“Out of the box, most cameras are not secure,” Alex Holden with Hold Security, LLC said.
Holden says while cameras can help solve crimes and give people a sense of security, they can also attract crime!
“If crooks get access to those cameras, they can see when you’re home and perhaps where you keep your valuables,” he said.
The I-Team discovered several websites online streaming cameras in homes, day cares and schools across the world.
Just minutes after clicking through one website, we were able to see children playing in a living room and families watching TV on the couch.
“We see criminals looking at this video perhaps for blackmail purposes or to find potential victims,” Holden said.
There are plenty of news articles online where hackers admitted secretly recording victims, particularly women, then threatening to release the video if they didn't pay up.
Perhaps even more disturbing, we found hackers have gained access to cameras inside children’s bedrooms.
Many of the web sites streaming this content are free to the public, making it easy for criminals and sex offenders to watch your every move.
Holden says consumers need to change the default username and password immediately after setting up their cameras to avoid being hacked.
“When people follow these secure instructions, it makes it extremely difficult for the bad guys to get in and they usually will look for easier targets,” Holden said.
Here’s what you need to know:
-Many low-end security cameras purchased online or in-store contain a default username and password. While that’s all you need to get the system up and running, anyone with that information can remotely access your cameras and view the material online.
-Choose a username and password that’s easy for you to remember, but hard for the bad guys to guess!
-If you through away your user manual when you set up your home security system and don't know how to set up a new password, contact the manufacturer. You can usually find the camera make and model number on each individual camera or DVR box (if included).
-Security experts recommend you “limit” the number of users than can remotely connect to your live video feed. This will greatly reduce the chances of unauthorized people connecting to your system. For example, if you’re the only one monitoring the footage, limit the users to “1”. This way, even if somebody else has your information, only one device can connect to the video server at a time, locking them out!
What should you do if you notice your video is being streamed online without your permission?
-Experts say you should contact the web site owner and request they remove the video feed.
-Also, changing a username and password should eliminate this problem.
-If you have wireless cameras throughout your house or business that connect over WiFi, make sure your WiFi network is password protected.
Are hackers able to access my cameras from another country?
-Yes! Most of the cameras being streamed online are being “remotely” hacked. Anyone across the globe who knows a camera manufacturer’s default username and password can access the cameras connected to that network. That's why it's important not to use default usernames and passwords.