A website in Russian, which has a domain named registered in Australian-controlled Cocos Islands is streaming the feeds of thousands of webcams with lax password security from around the world.
ABC Radio’s AM reports that cameras showing baby in a cot in Melbourne, a Perth parking lot and a Melbourne lounge room appear on the website among 300 from Australia and also include the GPS location of the images.
More than 4500 cameras in the USA, 2000 in France and 500 in Britain have also been targeted in the hack, which exploits default setting passwords such as “1234” to gain access.
Security cameras in homes, workplaces and businesses such as laundromats as well as baby monitors are among the webcams appearing on the site.
British information commissioner Christopher Graham told the ABC that the site was discovered by data protection experts in Hong Kong in the past 24 hours, who alerted Australian authorities and the concern has since spread worldwide.
The site’s administrators say is it designed “to show the importance of the security settings.” It says people only need to change the password to a more secure one for it to be removed from the site.
Since the massive hack was discovered, authorities in Britain, China, US and Australia are among those are lobbying Russia to force those responsible for the site to take it down. They have not identified it for fear of generating traffic to the site
Professor Carsten Maple, from the University of Warwick’s Cyber Security Centre told the ABC that the hackers most likely created the site for kudos among their peers.
“We don’t know what other activity they might be up to. They might do something that’s more advanced in terms of hacking, in a sense, I don’t know,” he said.