Surveillance Cameras Could Pose Security Threat

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Surveillance cameras are one thing that should make you feel secure at home or at work. What you might not know is that some of those cameras are viewable online anytime, by anyone, day or night. Some cameras are viewable in countries around the world — from here in the United States to Argentina to Denmark and everywhere in between. There are more than 8,700 on one website called http://www.insecam.org.
Melissa Wiggins, a computer science professor at Mississippi College says, “They’re unsecured and people put them in bedrooms and babies nurseries. And places that they would not want the general public to be able to see what they’re doing or who was there.”
The Insecam project labels itself as the world’s biggest directory of online surveillance cameras. It shows everything from inside houses, street views, parking lots, offices, and beaches. The types of cameras used vary and include Axis, Panasonic, Linksys, Sony, and TPLink.
Some of the cameras are here in Mississippi. One is on a front porch in Clinton. With the click of a mouse, you can zoom in and change the camera angle. WJTV 12 wanted to let the homeowner know that their camera was viewable online and we tried tracking down the location of the home, even enlisting the help of the Clinton Police Department. No one was able to find the exact location, but Wiggins says a more computer savvy person might be able to find it. According to Wiggins, “The information varies. On some sites, you get latitude and longitude. You can get the address on that camera and using tools on the Internet you can track back to locate that camera. It depends on how much information The Internet service provider and other groups provide.”

Wiggins says unprotected cameras open up your home or business for break-ins. They also open you up to online threats, like having personal information or banking information stolen from computers connected to your network. Wiggins says, “If it doesn’t have to be on the Internet don’t put it on the Internet. Turn the wireless off. If it does need to be on the Internet you need to secure everything from the point that the connection comes into your house to the camera. And any other device that might be on the Internet as well.”

The website http://www.insecam.org claims that the cameras are not hacked, but none of them are password protected. The site also states that any private or unethical camera will be removed immediately if you email the administrator a complaint. The best way to protect your camera is to either disconnect the WIFI or change the username and password.

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