Connected cams reportedly recalled after Friday's web attack

Webcams made by China's Xiongmai could be at the heart of the hack that brought down parts of the internet.

Andrew Gebhart Former senior producer
2 min read

Xiongmai's webcams may have been at the heart of the hack Friday that led to outages across the web.


The fallout from Friday's internet outage is starting to be felt.

Xiongmai, a Chinese webcam manufacturer, is pulling some of its internet-connected cams from the market, according to Reuters. The company will also send out a patch to customers who have newer cams to hopefully fix their security vulnerabilities.

How do webcams relate to the internet outage? Well, Friday's attack hacked a bunch of low security internet-connected devices and used them to flood popular websites with phony traffic. Specifically, it flooded Dyn, which hosts and helps filter traffic for sites like Twitter, Spotify, Etsy, and Netflix so just such a thing doesn't happen.

Xiongmai has a lot of low-cost security cameras in the US market, and the company also sells components of its cameras to other US manufacturers. Flashpoint security specifically mentioned Xiongmai cams as part of the problem in similar attacks over the past couple of months.

The cameras' security is said to be weak to begin with, but things get worse when customers install them without changing the default username and password. Hackers can then use malware to seek out susceptible cams, hijack them en masse, and use them as part of attacks like the ones that occurred Friday.

The implications of the recall don't just extend to Xiongmai, but to the smart home as a whole. Since more and more devices throughout your home are connected to the internet, hackers have more possible access points. Even if they have no intention of hacking your fridge to find out the status of your groceries, they could use that device to overwhelm internet gatekeepers like Dyn.

The onus, then, falls on smart home manufacturers to ensure security takes a priority when producing a product. We'll be taking a close look at how this affects the most popular brands of the smart home shortly.

In the meantime, if you have any smart home gear, it might be a good time to change your password.

Xiongmai did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.