Unsecure surveillance camera feeds in homes, businesses available for anyone to see

DENVER -- Thousands of unsecured surveillance camera feeds across the globe are available for anyone to see. And none has been hacked into.

Websites such as Insecam.org are like the Google of live video feeds.

It provides access to feeds to offices, restaurants, schools, recreation centers, front lawns, backyards and perhaps most alarming, inside of homes.

The website highlights a serious problem with surveillance cameras. Without a password, they’re easy to tap into.

Dale Drew, chief security officer for Level 3 in Broomfield, said this is a big problem that is not going away anytime soon.

His company is constantly monitoring online threats and he said this one is one everyone with a surveillance system should know about.

Drew said the problem centers around the use of default passwords.

“When they take the device out of the box and they connect it to the network, it has the same username and password that every other device like it also has,” Drew said.

According to Insecam.org, the United States is the leading country for unsecured surveillance cameras.

Over the course of a week, the number hovered around 7,000. In Colorado, there were dozens. In Denver, there were about 40.

The feeds present a danger for residents because they are broadcasting movements in and out of the home.

That is just part of the danger of leaving cameras unprotected. Drew said Level 3 is seeing an explosion of home camera extortion crimes.

“The bad guys will be collecting this data live, automated, looking for motion and analyzing that motion to find incriminating photos of yourself.," Drew said.

"You walking around your home naked, saying things which are inappropriate, and then contacting you and extorting you for money and threatening to release the photos out on the internet."

He said the same applies for commercial spaces.

“If it is streamlining on the world wide web. The bad guys are going to be using that data to look for anything incriminating against the business," Drew said.

To stop creeps and crooks from tapping into a surveillance camera feed, there are two simple steps to follow: Use a strong password for the device and be wary of making the surveillance cam feed accessible over the internet.

“Either having control so that they can access it, format their specific device, or not turning that feature on at all and using it from you home network or your business network,” Drew said.