Cryp­tic site streams se­cu­rity footage world­wide

JoongAng Daily - - Front Page - BY LEE SUNG-EUN se­[email protected]

A new web­site called inse­ has re­cently started to stream live feeds of more than 70,000 surveil­lance se­cu­rity cam­eras and dig­i­tal video-reg­is­tra­tion sys­tems from around the world, pro­vid­ing in­ti­mate views into com­pa­nies, shops, fit­ness cen­ters and even bed­rooms.

The web­site’s anony­mous op­er­a­tor writes on one page that “this site has been de­signed in or­der to show the im­por­tance of the se­cu­rity set­tings,” sug­gest­ing that the mas­sive dis­clo­sure was al­legedly in­tended to high­light poor user se­cu­rity and based on pub­lic in­ter­est.

On it, live feeds are clas­si­fied by the coun­try from which they are streamed. The coun­tries are also ranked in or­der of the high­est num­ber of streamed de­vices.

The United States topped the list with 11,046 sys­tems listed. Korea ranked sec­ond with 6,536, fol­lowed by China (4,770), Mex­ico (3,359), France (3,285) and Italy (2,870).

Around 150 coun­tries are listed to­tal. North Korea is not among them.

How­ever, the ad­ver­tise­ments for se­cu­rity sys­tems and cam­eras on the web­site cast doubt on the op­er­a­tor’s state­ments.

“Th­ese cam­eras are not hacked,” it says on the web­site’s FAQ sec­tion. “Own­ers of th­ese cam­eras use de­fault pass­word by un­known rea­son,” the ad­min­is­tra­tor con­tin­ued, adding that the sys­tems fea­tured on the web­site are those in which op­er­a­tors had not changed the de­fault pass­word — ad­min:ad­min or ad­min:12345, for ex­am­ple.

The op­er­a­tor goes fur­ther to ex­plain that “to re­move your pub­lic cam­era from this and make it pri­vate, the only thing you need to do is to change your cam­era pass­word.”

It re­mains un­clear whether there is a hid­den agenda be­hind the sub­stan­tial cache of video footage other than the rea­sons men­tioned on the web­site.

The news out­let Moth­er­board re- ported that the al­leged ad­min­is­tra­tor of the site re­sponded to emails from the company, but “re­peated the claim that the site’s pur­pose is to high­light poor user se­cu­rity.”

Moth­er­board con­tin­ued to cite the ad­min­is­tra­tor from the email the company re­ceived, re­port­ing that the process for adding cam­eras to the site is al­legedly “au­to­mated,” with thou­sands col­lected each week.

Each cam­era pub­lished on the web­site fea­tured a live feed, as well as the ge­o­graph­i­cal co­or­di­nates and Google Maps lo­ca­tion of the in­stall­ment, en­abling view­ers to track down what­ever is shown on screen.

Inse­ fo­cuses on In­ter­net pro­to­col (IP) cam­eras, which re­fer to dig­i­tal video cam­eras typ­i­cally used for surveil­lance pur­poses that can sub­mit and re­ceive data through on­line sys­tems like the In­ter­net, which al­lows op­er­a­tors to view their feeds on­line.

The site does not in­clude USB cam­eras and in­ter­nal cam­eras on note­books, the web­site ex­plains.

The web­site also men­tions that “there are a lot of ways to search such cam­eras in in­ter­net us­ing google, search soft­ware or spe­cial­ized search sites [sic],” hint­ing that the com­pi­la­tion could be ac­com­plished by any­one, any­where at any time with In­ter­net ac­cess.

Although the feeds are streamed live, most screens from Korea fea­tured on the web­site ap­pear frozen, with some show­ing noth­ing at all, due in part to the fact that the images are trans­mit­ted through for­eign on­line net­works.

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