Local IP cameras have been hacked, with footage being posted and sold online. A dedicated group uploaded the private videos on pornographic sites for viewing, with people are paying S$203 for lifetime access to such clips in a Discord group.
The videos range from being under a minute long to over 20 minutes, and it features couples, breastfeeding mothers, and even children. The unknowing victims were filmed on their home IP cameras which got hacked by a dedicated group of people with intent to sell the footage.
Videos being sold online
Upon closer inspection of the videos, it was discovered that the people behind the blatant privacy infringement are doing it as an easy way to earn money. A group, featuring over a thousand members worldwide, shares hacked IP camera videos. The group can be found on social messaging platform Discord and charges a subscription fee of US$150 (S$203) for lifetime access to the videos.
The victims in these videos hail from different countries, including Thailand, South Korea, and Canada. The group provides a free sample, sized at 700MB for interested buyers. The examples include around 4,000 videos and pictures from hacked footage.
A large portion of the clips was obtained from IP cameras in Singapore. The group claims to have access to more than 50,000 hacked cameras that members can access. VIP members are even taught to “explore, watch live, and even record” the hacked cameras, through tutorials and personalised sessions.
Videos were of victims in private situations
Most of the videos featured victims in compromising positions, such as using the toilet or undressing. Faces of the victims could be seen in different settings, compromising their identity and privacy.
In a video dated March 2020, a teenage girl is seen in a white t-shirt and her underwear, surrounded by school books. An O-level 10-Year-Series book seen among the stack, indicating that the girl is underaged. Many of the videos are tagged as being from Singapore, with many videos featuring the instantly recognisable layout of a typical HDB flat.
The footage seems to be from Internet Protocol (IP) camera, commonly found in homes in Singapore for security reasons. The cameras also act as a way for individuals to remotely monitor their children, elderly family members, domestic workers, and pets. Sadly, the very intention of wanting a more secure environment has been undercut by the hacking of these cameras.
How to protect yourself
Hacking into such IP cameras can often be as simple as logging onto the devices with the predetermined password provided by the manufacturer. Hence, it is incredibly important to change the camera password. The usernames could have been obtained by retrieving the log from unsecured servers. In this digital age, where everything is readily available online, it is essential to stay vigilant and ensure that your online activity is secure.
A fuss-free way of preventing hacking is to have a stronger password. Simple passwords are prone to be cracked, with IP cameras being at risk due to their connection with cloud services or exposure to the internet. Taking precautions to secure your IP camera is recommended. Users are advised to purchase an IP camera from a trusted brand that offers reliable security features. Be advised to change your password and update the software for the IP camera regularly.