Weak Webcam Security Exposing Businesses To The World

Perhaps you have a business, franchise or office location and want to keep an eye on things remotely.  A “dropcam” or“webcam” can be a great way to get a real time view on the go.   However, what many perceive as a additional layer security could be putting your business at risk.

Fox News uncovered a Russian hosted website that catalogued over 70,000 webcams from across the globe.  These video feeds peered directly into the lives of unsuspecting home owners and businesses.  The site allows users to search by location and browse a list of feeds which include bedrooms, garages, and even what appears to be a water treatment pipeline.

Joy Lepola, at Fox 45 Baltimore, researched the story was able to identify an Illinois business and contact an employee just by observing the webcam for a few minutes.  She was even able to instruct the woman to walk over to the camera and wave back. The video below shows the surprised reaction from the store employee as she learns that someone is watching her from across the internet.

I was asked to provide a comment about webcam security, the internet of things, and the consequences of having video online for the world to see.

After this report caught global attention the Russian site (Insecam.com) was shutdown.  However, there are dozens of other similar websites still online and the cameras are still broadcasting. For those who have webcams, the following actions are strongly recommended:

  1. Review the security settings on these devices
  2. Change the default password settings
  3. Limit access from unknown remote IP addresses
  4. Update the webcam with the latest software from the manufacturer
  5. If you are broadcasting video from a stock room or office location, inform employees that they are being recorded.  This is required by law depending on your state