Creepstreams: G-Maps Gone Creepy
Summary: Forget Big Brother; anyone could be watching. Last January a vulnerability in Tendnet home security cameras became famous on the web, particularly on forums like Reddit and 4Chan. The vulnerability...
Forget Big Brother; anyone could be watching. Last January a vulnerability in Tendnet home security cameras became famous on the web, particularly on forums like Reddit and 4Chan. The vulnerability allowed anyone to easily hack in to an IP camera feed and watch whatever it was monitoring without the user ever being the wiser.
Trendnet obviously responded quickly and patched their systems with a firmware update, but it appears that simply making a fix available wasn’t good enough. A good 12 months later thousands of unwitting customers are still broadcasting their live camera feeds out for anyone to view.
Enter Creepstreams, a Google Maps-style website that instead of finding places of interest, shows every unsecured camera within a certain area, along with the actual location of the camera itself pinpointed on a map.
The site’s creators, while remaining anonymous, reportedly claim that their intention is not to exploit the Trendnet vulnerability for nefarious purposes, but rather raise awareness for all those unknowing folk doing goodness knows what in front of a potentially live audience.
While we think that awareness of this issue should certainly be raised, showing the actual locations of a camera is going a bit too far, if the locations are indeed accurate. It would be enough to simply show within an area, rather than highlight a road or even a house.
To be fair the firmware update download link is displayed across the top of the page, so the claim that the site is to raise awareness and not exploit innocents does have some backing.
It’s not too clear why the security flaw has persisted in such abundance, but most are speculating that a large number of customers simply never bothered updating, or didn’t even register their product upon activation, meaning that Trendnet could not contact them directly.
We thought it wise to warn any of our readers to check that their Trendnet camera are up to date, as the greater number of vulnerable users seem to be in the US and Europe. Anyone without a Trendnet camera is best to steer clear of the site, as you might end up seeing something that you wouldn't want to. Most of the cameras are of warehouses and empty storage facilities, but others are much more personally situated. Remember, most of what you do online ends up being documented and saved somewhere, so it’s best to play things safe and give people their privacy.
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