Internet experts warn about web cam privacy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Internet experts warn about web cam privacy

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The I-Team looked into how webcams can go from a source of security to a feed that may be made available to strangers online. (WFSB) The I-Team looked into how webcams can go from a source of security to a feed that may be made available to strangers online. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The I-Team looked into how webcams can go from a source of security to a feed that may be made available to strangers online.

People often use webcams to keep an eye on a loved one or a pet. As webcams become more popular, the I-Team has found that many of these cameras have default passwords. If a person doesn't change them, that individual and their family may be unwittingly broadcasting their life for everyone.

The I-Team found a feed of a woman eating lunch online, however it is unclear where she is or why she’s being filmed. Anyone can watch this live feed online, but this feed is not alone. People can watch dozens of scenes from everyday life with a few clicks.

Some of these sites appear to be in Connecticut, while a few in other places are from around the country. On their own, it's invasive and even salacious. 

However, what if a person could pinpoint the location of someone’s webcam. The I-Team decided to try this out and the station found a camera online that gave an approximate location of Glastonbury.

With the help of WFSB Network Administrator Peter Canoni, the I-Team found the real address. The camera does not have a secret password, so he was able to log in to the camera itself and grab the IP Address that identifies the camera online.

“So I look up that IP address to see who owns it, and then I can see here the owner and the address,” Canoni said.

In minutes, Canoni told the I-Team that he had found the feed was coming from a camera at Nutmeg Auto in Hartford. Canoni told the I-Team that cameras such as the one providing this feed come with pre-installed generic passwords. If a person doesn't change them to a password of their own, their password may be accessible by others.

The owner of the Nutmeg Auto told the I-Team he has his camera on his personal website and knew anyone could get to it. But, we were still able to start with the feed and pinpoint his exact address in minutes.  People can do the same thing with many cameras unless its owner takes steps to protect their privacy.

“They can look up the address of the person who pays the bill.  And it could be your baby sleeping or if could be an older relative home alone and they could figure out where it is,” the I-Team asked.

“Correct,” Canoni said.

The best security measures are being proactive. People need to go find the manual for their webcam and see if there's a way to set a unique password. 

A lot of these cameras come with the password set at "password" or "admin.” Unless people change it, someone could easily break in. So experts recommend that people change it now and make sure their privacy is protected.

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