This App Lets Anybody Spy Through Your Webcam Without Your Knowledge


Cybersecurity has become a pressing issue, from the national level right down to the personal. And some glaring flaws in how we conduct ourselves that have basically forced companies like Microsoft to save us from our own stupidity. But some of those flaws remain unfixed, and one of them lets anybody who can read Chinese and has $28 spy on you, your baby, or your business with the click of a button.

Boing Boing found the app, programmed in China, which simply searches the internet for common models of webcams — used for everything from a cheap security system to a baby monitor — and plugs in the default password (which many people forger or neglect to change). If it works, the webcam’s owner instantly has an audience, without their knowledge or any way to spot them.

The good news is that this is easy to fix: Just change the password when you pick up a new webcam. But it illustrates a larger problem with cybersecurity. Most companies will argue the burden of security rests with the people who buy their products — if people don’t change the default password, the company can’t be faulted for that. But at the same time, people just aren’t informed that their “smart” products could have these security problems. There’s a reason that a search engine for the “Internet of Things” shares its name with a malicious computer program from a horror video game.

This is only going to get worse. Smart products are becoming cheaper and more commonplace, and they offer distinct advantages, ranging from being able to flip on the lights with your voice to making your home more energy efficient. But with these products comes new dangers, to our privacy, to our safety, to our peace of mind. We need to have these risks considered, and put front and center, or else we may soon see something much darker.

(Via Boing Boing)