73,000 Webcams Are Open to Peeping Toms — Is Yours?

If the past year has taught consumers anything, it’s that identity thieves, fraudsters and scammers are on the prowl, going after any information they can use to make a buck. But the intrusions don’t stop there.

If the thought of being the unwitting star of your own prime time reality show gives you the willies, consider the recent revelation that more than 73,000 unsecured webcams and surveillance cameras are, as I write this column, viewable on a Russian-based website. The site lists the cameras by country. (Unfortunately, the U.S. is well represented.) In every case, victims ignored safety protocols and installed the cameras with their default login and password — admin/admin or another easy-to-guess combination findable on any number of public-facing websites.

According to NetworkWorld:

There are 40,746 pages of unsecured cameras just in the first 10 country listings: 11,046 in the U.S.; 6,536 in South Korea; 4,770 in China; 3,359 in Mexico; 3,285 in France; 2,870 in Italy; 2,422 in the U.K.; 2,268 in the Netherlands; 2,220 in Colombia; and 1,970 in India. Like the site said, you can see into ‘bedrooms of all countries of the world’. There are 256 countries listed plus one directory not sorted into country categories.

Why It Matters

You may remember the sextortionist who hacked into Miss Teen USA’s computer camera and took compromising photographs. He tried to get money in exchange for not distributing the pictures, and got 18 months behind bars instead. That’s a bit too lenient in my book.

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