It’s very easy to view unsecured cameras live and you don’t even need to be a hacker. There are a bunch of websites online that categorizes random unsecured security cameras for online watching.
All you have to do is access one of these websites and browse countless hacked security cameras that are live streaming and most of the owners have no idea that someone is watching.
It sounds pretty scary and actually, it is. It’s like you’re Big Brother watching all these random unsecured security cameras on people’s homes, rooms, restaurants, venues, etc. The cameras you’re watching are security IP cameras (or HD analog) installed on someone’s home across the world and the video feed is transmitted to the internet.
In this article we will talk about unsecured live security cameras, how are these cameras hacked, how are the streams submitted online via the internet, which cameras are easily hacked and by answering these questions you’ll be more prepared to avoid any possible hacking of your own home surveillance cameras.
How to view unsecured cameras live
One of the largest websites that display home security cameras is insecam.org. Once you browse their unsecured cameras catalog you’ll understand how easy it is to get live cameras in random people’s homes. There are more than 100,000 thousand cameras listed in it!
Most of the time this website finds unsecured cameras online by randomly trying the default username and password; if they get a hit, it goes to their live online list. And they get thousands of security cameras installed in people’s homes all over the world.
For example, the screenshot below is taken from the aforementioned website. As you can see, private people get watched by strangers over the internet via their unsecured security cameras. We don’t have any association with that website, and we don’t suggest watching people via these cameras.
Another website similar to Insecam is Opentopia which lists hundreds of unsecured cameras all over the world and everyone can watch even allowing people to drop a comment if the “show” is good enough.
This site lets you select what city or country to watch cameras from, offers still images, gifs of the last feed, etc. They even allow you to create an account, leave comments, search the latest or most popular cameras. The paradise for a pervert stalker.
If you want to watch public cameras such as traffic cameras, city live cameras, beach cameras, plazas, intersection, etc., check out this detailed guide: How to watch public surveillance cameras.
How are security cameras hacked?
Most of the time, the hackers gain access to security cameras by trying the default login credentials. When you install a camera, you must change the default password.
There are software that randomly scan the internet for security camera links, if they find such cameras then they try default username and passwords depending on the manufacturer. Obviously, they can quickly gain access to the camera if the owner never changed the default password.
When you hire someone to install your security camera system it’s necessary to ask them to give you the admin account, some installers make the camera show on the phone and leave while they still have access to the system. So, get the admin password (which you’re entitled to) and change the password yourself.
Another way that the security cameras get hacked or become unsecured is by using obsolete firmware. Each camera or DVR/NVR runs firmware that needs to be maintained continually by the manufacturer. Over time, security breaches are discovered on these firmwares and hackers can remotely use these holes to gain access to the system without even knowing the password.
That’s why it’s important to purchase security camera systems from reputable manufacturers who maintain their CCTV software. Additionally, you have to keep your system updated, check periodically for firmware updates (nowadays many devices do auto-update).
All the hacking risks that we mentioned above can happen to your security cameras if they’re exposed to the internet. The cameras are secure (even if they have vulnerable firmware) if you haven’t connected them to the internet. That’s because no one can try to hack if the cameras are physically not connected to the net.
Moreover, the brand sometimes doesn’t matter that much, it can be Samsums, Axis, Bosch, Sony, Panasonic, Dahua, Hikvision, etc. Nothing on the internet is one hundred percent sage. If your camera is on the internet, someone may try to hack it. Anyway, below we’ll show tips on how to keep your CCTV camera system safe.
Facts about unsecured cameras
Based just on insecam.org listings, we found that the most unsecured cameras listed come from the United States (30%), Japan (11%), Italy (6%), France (5%), UK (4%), Russia, and Spain.
Unsecured security cameras by spots:
- Outdoor: 22%
- Parking lots: 21%
- Indoor (home, apt): 16%
- Others: 40%
The most common unsecured cameras by the manufacturer: Axis, Panasonic, Sony, Dahua, Hikvision, Netcam, Foscam, Vivotek, etc.
How to protect your cameras from hackers
Change the default username and password
Never use the default password on your security camera, DVR, or NVR. Usually, these devices come with a default username (admin) and password which is usually admin/12345. Many times they get hacked just by trying the default account.
Moreover, everyone can google the camera’s manufacturer and easily find what’s the default password. Forntaluntely, lately manufacturers decided to let their security devices without a password and force the user to create their own password.
Purchase from reputable brands
The cheaper the camera, the less likely is for the manufacturer to keep their camera software update. Having well-designed and secure software takes a lot of financial resources that many small companies cannot afford.
We always recommend buying security cameras from reputable brands that offer continuous technical support and release update packages for their firmware. The more reputable the manufacturer, the fewer problems for your cameras.
Additionally, you should check for cameras that use multi-level security features to keep the footage safe. They should use SSL encryption, WPA-AES encryption, and SSL-TLS options enabled
Don’t install security cameras in private spaces
When you install surveillance cameras make sure not to put them in private rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or any place where privacy is expected. If your camera gets hacked, it will definitely be listed under “live bathroom camera” or “live bedroom camera” and will draw a lot of attention.
So, never install cameras in private places. If you must, don’t connect them to the internet and they’ll be safe.
Update your camera
It’s necessary to update the firmware on your camera. New firmware releases not just improve the performance but patch various security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers online.
So, check the manufacturer’s website once in a while and have your cameras updated to the latest version. Many new models do auto-update; ensure the option in your camera is enabled.
Change the default ports
When hackers scan the internet for unsecured cameras, they usually “listen” to the most used ports for security cameras, such as ports 80, 445, 8000, 8001, etc. Usually, it’s within the 8100 range.
You can manually change these default ports and use a non-standard port. For example, instead of port 80, use port 9100 which will reduce any hacking attempts and increase the security of your camera.
In this article, we talked about unsecured cameras and how easily they can get hacked. There are even websites that categorize random hacked cameras all over the world and let everyone watch them freely.
Take the discussed recommendations seriously to avoid any possible hacking or letting your private cameras be accessible for strangers via the Internet. If you need a good security camera system, check our recommendations.