Inside Scoop: Insecam site streams thousands of unsecured webcamsIn a bold statement about security, a new site is broadcasting live feeds from thousands of web cameras, some of which show home interiors. CNET's Sumi Das talks to CNET's Ian Sherr about who's at fault and how you can protect yourself.
[MUSIC] Hello, and welcome to Inside Scoop. I'm Sumi Das and joining me is Ian Shurr, executive editor for CNET, thanks for being with us. My pleasure. There is a new site that's getting a lot of attention. It's a bit creepy. Yeah. Tell us about it. The website's called Instacam, and it's basically broadcasting 11,000 of the cameras that we all put in our little homes across the web. Surveillance cameras. It's everything, right? Yeah. If anyone's camera, if anything is connected to the internet, they are showing this to the whole world. And the whole point that they're trying to make is that all these cameras have their default passwords. And the default passwords because we can all buy them. We all know them. And they said, oh, let's see how many people are using default passwords. And seems that either Quite a lot. At least a thousand, 11,000 people in the U.S. who are doing that. Yeah. And, and this isn't just U.S. This is world wide, right? They've got Yeah. There are 2500 in the U.K. There's six in Tanzania. All six of them, and, I mean, the point that they're trying to make is that it's here, right? This whole connected home stuff is very popular in the US, that's why there are so many of them, and probably also the specific products that they know about are pretty popular in the US as well, but it's a huge problem all around the world. Hm. These people are clearly trying to make a statement about, you know, passwords and not using the default passwords. Do we know anything about the people behind the site? Not much. But what's important to note is that this is a long held tradition around the internet of shaming people about how they handle security. Right. People have gone different lengths, for example, there was a group called Lolsec. Which was around 2011. And what they did was they would hack into all sorts of different places, including the F.B.I and the C.I.A.. Okay. And they would basically tell us hey, we hacked in these people don't have very good security, and then they would do bad stuff with it. But their whole point was let's shame people into having their security. Uh-hm. Now those people ended up some of them went to jail. Right. But the important part of it is that Instacam is trying to make a point about is. Hey we all need to be very knowledgeable about how insecure a lot of our stuff is and we need to do something about it. Okay, There is a pretty simple fix if you find that your camera's live feed is being broadcast. Yeah. On the Insecam website, what is it? It's change your password. Right, Yep. Log into your camera change the password. We think it's simple, but it might not be simple for a lot of people. Well, for a lot of people it isn't, right? Right. And this. This is, you know, the question of the blame, right, who's responsible, I mean obviously instacam is showing these video feeds, and, if someone doesn't know, they may be in an uncompromised position Right, are they being exploitive, are people being careless, are you just being careless? All sorts of stuff, and so, the thing is we have to think about it in many ways, right, this is a reminder to the companies, hey, you should remind people. To change your password once you turn on the product. Cuz if they only use default passwords so it's easy for them to print out the booklet once and send it all in the same box, right? Yeah. So that's one thing. Us as users need to be aware that this is a problem and it needs to be fixed. Right, and then obviously Instacam at one point needs to be responsible, and make it so that maybe, you know, people in compromised positions aren't shown on the Web. Right, and one reassurance is if you go to the site the feeds are pulling up very slowly. I mean I- Yeah, fortunately. [LAUGH] Yeah, exactly. So, you've got some time. Yeah. All right. Ian, thank you so much. For Inside Scoop I'm Sumi Das. Thanks for watching.