Webcam Security Snafus Expose 15,000 Devices
Researchers have discovered 15,000 private webcams around the globe which could be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, raising serious security and privacy concerns.
Working for Wizcase, white hat Avishai Efrat located the exposed devices from multiple manufacturers including: AXIS net cameras; Cisco Linksys webcam; IP Camera Logo Server; IP WebCam; IQ Invision web camera; Mega-Pixel IP Camera; Mobotix; WebCamXP 5 and Yawcam.
They appear to have been installed by both home users and businesses in multiple countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia.
By failing to put in place even cursory protection on the devices, these owners are exposing not only the webcam streams themselves but also, in some cases where admin access is possible, user information and approximate geolocation. In these cases, Efrat was also theoretically able to remotely control the device view and angle.
Control of such feeds and personal info could allow attackers to rob the premises being monitored, blackmail users, and even steal PII for identity fraud.
The problem lies with the cameras’ remote access functionality. In some cases UPnP was enabled without additional protections like password authentication or IP/MAC address whitelisting, whilst in others unsecured P2P networking was used.
“Web cameras manufacturers strive to use technologies which make the device installation as seamless as possible but this sometimes results in open ports with no authentication mechanism set up. Many devices aren’t put behind firewalls, VPNs, or whitelisted IP access – any of which would deny scanners and arbitrary connections,” explained Wizcase web security expert, Chase Williams.
“If these devices have open network services, then they could be exposed.”
Wizcase urged webcam operators to change the default configuration of their device in order to: whitelist specific IP & MAC addresses to access the web camera, add strong password authentication and disable UPnP if P2P networking is being used.
It also advised users to configure a home VPN network so the webcam would no longer be exposed to the public-facing internet.