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November 20, 2014

Russian site taps into UK webcam feeds

Devices unsecured or using default passwords being broadcast worldwide.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Poorly secured webcam, CCTV and baby monitor feeds from around the world are being broadcast to a Russian website, data agencies have warned.

Site admins have accessed footage from devices using default passwords or without credentials at all, with 500 feeds said to be from the UK.

Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), said: "The footage is being collected from security cameras used by businesses and members of the public, ranging from CCTV networks used to keep large premises secure, down to built-in cameras on baby monitors.

"And with 350,000 of these cameras sold in the UK alone last year, this is a threat that all of us need to be aware of and be taking action to protect against."

The website claims to be trying to flag up the potential for security breach from insecure systems, but is now facing calls from the ICO to be taken down.

Webcam feeds can often be accessed over the internet, sometimes through scanning software or even through search engines. Usersare advised to disable such features if they do not need them and ensure that they do not use basic passwords.

"The ability to access footage remotely is both an internet cameras biggest selling point and, if not setup correctly, potentially its biggest security weakness," Rice added.

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