You don't need to be a hacker to view unsecured cameras live since they are easily available for free in some websites that everybody can have access to.
Yes, I'm talking about IP security cameras or DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) that are installed on people's home and connected to the Internet with live streaming.
There are thousands of unsecured cameras around the world that are unprotected even from people with no technical skills at all.
Let's see how it's possible to have access to the live unsecured cameras...
How security cameras are hacked ?
People hire contractors to install security cameras in their homes or install security cameras by themselves, but most of the time they forget that other people can also have access to the camera live streaming and that's a huge problem.
The principle is very simple, if you can have access to your camera from the Internet, other people also can as long as they have the correct username and password you use to log in into the camera.
There are other ways to view unsecured cameras live such as exploiting well-known vulnerabilities and a lot more as discussed in the article How to hack CCTV cameras (10 hacker secrets) and Your CCTV system is about to be hacked.
Besides all these hacker stuff, believe or not, most unsecured cameras on the Internet are freely available, you can simply open a web browser, visit a website and choose which camera you want to snoop in.
Watch live home cameras
The insecam.org website is a good example of how easy is to get into live cameras in people's homes and watch everything without any restriction.
This website has a list of thousands of unsecured cameras that are live on the Internet and most of the owners have no idea that this is happening.
People usually install the security cameras and forget to change the default username and password and that's how the Insecam guys can have access to the device and just leave them available on the website.
The picture below is an example of how it's possible to watch live home cameras.
DISCLAIMER: The picture above is an example of unsecured cameras available on the Insecam.org. I don't have any association with such website and I don't recommend hacking other people's camera. The picture is just an example.
Insecam is not the only one - there's also the Opentopia website which also lists thousands of unsecured cameras and even allows people to leave comments.
Opentopia even let you choose the type of stream you want to receive such as refreshing still pictures, animation of the last screenshots or live feed.
This website has more features than the Insecam.org since it allows you to sign in to be able to comment on the cameras and it's always updated with new information about trending webcams, new webcams, and most viewed ones.
The risks of connecting an unsecured camera to the Internet (please keep yours safe)
As soon as the camera is connected to the Internet you are at risk.
It doesn't matter which camera branding you are using, even the most well-known brands such as Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, etc are not 100% safe.
Any device connected to the Internet is at risk. You can take some measures to increase the security of your devices but there's no guarantee that it's completely safe from hackers, especially the ones with high-level technical skills.
How to protect yourself from hackers
Don't install security cameras on private places
The first thing you have to do is to keep things simple and just don't install security cameras in your bedroom, bathroom or any other place that some privacy is expected. You can also let your security system disconnected from the Internet.
You don't want your cameras listed on such websites as "live bedroom cameras", right ? So please don't take that risk.
Change the default username and password
Just change the default camera username/password. The camera usually comes with a combination such as admin/admin or admin/12345.
Those passwords are easy to guess and are also available on the Internet or in the camera's manual. Don't take the risk and change them right away.
Purchase cameras from reputable brands
I know you value your money but please purchase your security camera from manufactures that are serious about their products and customers.
Usually, cheap security cameras are not good enough since there's no technical support team available or firmware updated to correct problems.
Keep your camera updated
You can update the firmware (small software inside the camera) to correct some issues related to the device features and security.
The camera manufacturers release those updates on their website and just need to download a file and send it to your camera, it's a very simple process.
Read more about the topic
If you have a concern about unsecured cameras, I recommend you to read more about this topic. I have some interesting articles in this blog, see the list below.
This article shows you how it's possible to view unsecured cameras live and how you can protect yourself by securing your own cameras.
Please take these recommendations seriously to avoid having your privacy exposed on the Internet and help other people do the same.
I hope this article can help you, please share it with your friends.
Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 16+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.