Spying on IP cameras

Sep 06, 2006 4:47 am
From Daily Wireless

Ubiquitous video surveillence is now available to everyone, says Defeating the Hacker. IP cameras plug straight into a corporate Ethernet network or broadband system, transmiting live video. Many have "PTZ", enabling them to be panned, tilted and zoomed remotely.

Using a search engine like Google, it's possible to locate hundreds of unprotected cameras.

For example, searching Google for inurl:CgiStart?page=Single will bring up dozens of links to Panasonic cameras and, in many cases, pan or tilt the camera. A search for axis inurl:view/index.shtml will bring up sites hosting cameras made by Axis.

Allowing an unprotected surveillance cameras to be visible over the internet is just asking for trouble.

There are privacy issues, for example, in allowing the general public to watch live images of your staff at work. Unfettered access to PTZ facilities make it simple for a thief or shoplifter to divert the camera away from where he wishes to strike.

Robert Schifreen's advice to anyone using an IP camera for surveillance:

Use the camera's in-built password protection rather than allowing the pictures to be streamed to the world.

Once you've set up the camera's securely, test it by attempting to connect from outside your company's network.

A small group of New York Civil Liberties Union volunteers walked the streets of Manhattan in search of video surveillance cameras. This group sought out every camera, public or private, which records people in public space. The NYC Surveillance Camera Project produced a comprehensive map of all 2,397 surveillance cameras in Manhattan. Nearly every square inch is covered with a camera of some kind.
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