A Russian language website has recently surfaced featuring thousands of live streaming web camera video images from around the world. The Russian hackers webcam site even displays the GPS location of each webcam that it has hacked into.
The website is written entirely in Russian but runs on a domain registered in the Australian controlled Cocos Islands.
The site features a vast array of web cam images being transmitted live and includes security cameras home surveillance cameras and even baby monitors.
Russian Webcam Hack
The site has been labeled as the Russian webcam hack and there are already campaigns being lobbied against Russian authorities to have the website taken down.
How have the webcams been hacked?
Saying that the webcams have been hacked is probably a strong word when in reality it seems that the sites owners have simply taken advantage of web cameras that are using default passwords such as 1234 or 0000 – perhaps they may even be targeting just specific models of cameras for which they know these default passwords and can possibly run an automated script to find and publish them.
How can Russian Hackers find these webcams?
Of course if you just have a webcam on your home computer, its not likely that a hacker could hack into it and stream the video – firstly they would never find your camera, and secondly they would have trouble accessing it because it would be hidden by your firewall (don’t worry, all household routers these days have built in firewalls, and so do almost all computers).
Public facing webcams are at risk
The real webcams at risk here are those that are public facing – in other words, say for example you have a security camera system set up at your business – you will undoubtedly want to be able to view the images recorded by those cameras from your home – for security purposes. To do this you would need to open up a particular port on your business Internet firewall (Often port 80 (http) but sometimes other ports are used for media streaming and have packets sent to the port and public IP combination (otherwise known as a socket) forwarded to your camera system.
It is the forwarding of these ports that turns the webcam into an internet facing one, and allows Russian hackers (just like it allows you the business owner) to also view the camera system remotely.
Insecure or default passwords allow hackers to access your webcam
The real clincher is the security on the webcam – or the password, if you had a secure password, it wouldnt matter if the hackers found your camera and the port it was streaming on, because they wouldn’t know the password. But if you use the default password for your webcam, then they will very easily get access to the webcams web interface, after which they cam easily broadcast the images produced by the webcam.
Will my webcam get hacked?
Dont think that these attackers will be targeting specific places of interest, they wont – they will more than likely be trawling through hundreds of thousands of IP addresses and “sniffing” them for a particular open port that is indicative of a webcam system that they know is susceptible to attack, once they find one at random, they will try a list of default passwords (known as a brute force attack) and if they gain entry, bingo, they publish it on their Russian webcam hack website.
How to protect your webcam from hackers
Don’t want to get hacked by Russian webcam hackers? Well heres a few top tips to avoid being hacked in the first place:
- Don’t make your webcam public facing unless its necessary.
- If you have to make your webcam publicly accessible, change the default password to something secure
- Set up an access control list – in other words restrict the webcam to your IP address where possible