Shodan, a relatively new search engine allows people to access strangers unsecured webcams and look through them. Shodan doesn’t limit its users to viewing people’s webcams however, you can access any camera connected to the internet that isn’t properly secured. Yes that’s right, this search engine allows you to access indoor and outdoor security cameras and cctv cameras in retail stores. The most reprehensible part of this search engine for cams however, is that it allows people to view sleeping babies of parents who use webcams for baby monitoring purposes.
In spite of the obvious criticism that most people would have of this search engine, there are people who are in favour of keeping Shodan in business. This is due to the alleged aim of Shodan, which is to show just how poor internet security has become. It’s possible to see where they are coming from, until you learn that they aren’t exactly the white knights they make themselves out to be. Shodan are charging around €45 for their spying service, so it’s not quite the public service the business and it’s fans would have you believe.
However you can defend yourself from the prying eyes of the internet. Many cams have very little protection out of the box. Most with a password like 123456 or some with none at all. Secure your webcams with strong password protection.
Another possible solution came from Ars Technica. They suggested that there should be a government body that develops a rating system for the security of devices. This would work similarly to rating systems you already see in place such as the BER rating system which tells prospective homeowners of the quality of the energy performance of the house.
Hopefully this article has shed some light on your own security. Remember to put a strong password on any device that connects to the internet and never share it with anyone that doesn’t need to have it.