Dangers of Unsecured Surveillance Cameras - NBC 6 South Florida

Dangers of Unsecured Surveillance Cameras

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Surveillance camera systems at homes and businesses are being hacked into and broadcast live on the Internet. (Published Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016)

    Surveillance cameras are everywhere. They're installed at homes, businesses, parks and malls.

    "The vast majority of the people have no idea that the inside of their homes or businesses are being broadcast all over the Internet," said InfoSight, Inc. President and CEO Tom Garcia.

    Security cameras captured a family walking in through their front door and somewhere in Miami, a board room meeting in progress is also captured.

    Thousands of live surveillance cameras are posted for the world to see on multiple apps and websites.

    "They're just capturing unsecure video streams. So the software to do it is readily available, it's free," said Garcia.

    Dr. Selcuk Uluagac leads the Cyber Physical Systems Security Lab at Florida International University.

    He says creators of these voyeur-like websites use robot programs to search the web for unsecure IP addresses linked to devices such as cameras.

    "Most of the users basically don't change their passwords. These devices have default passwords," said Dr. Selcuk Uluagac.

    To find out if the cameras are active and in real time, NBC 6 put them to the test. Inside the lobby of a Miami area business, the cameras are in plain view. But, the question is who is watching and why?

    "It's unbelievable because this is something, some cameras that are used pretty much for the use of the business, it's not for the use of anybody external," said business owner Jose Delgado.

    A South Florida business owner was shocked to learn his cameras were on one of the websites.

    The owner has already contacted an IT expert to change the password on the surveillance system.

    "If you put it out there for them and you make it easy for them then they're going to go after the lowest hanging fruit. And if that's what you're putting out there that's what they're going to grab," said Garcia.

    Other security measures you can take to avoid being a victim include creating a strong password, firewall protection and firmware updates.

    "We need more usable security research. We need systems that can be easily understood by the people and this problem is going to get worse because we have Internet of Things devices, cyber physical systems, we have sensors," said Dr. Uluagac

    "Do they want to be secure or do they want to have to convenience? It's going to be very difficult to have both and balance that," said Garcia.