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Hackers could spy on you through your smart camera

(Image credit: Photo Credit: bergserg/ Shutterstock)

Smart cameras might not be as “smart” as initially thought, according to new research by Kaspersky Lab which found many popular products are vulnerable to cyber-attack.

First, many cameras have a flaw which one might expect – they can be broken into and used to spy on people. However, there’s more to it. Kaspersky says smart cameras can also be used to steal the victims’ credentials and launch attacks on other devices, using the camera as a bridge, of sorts.

The vulnerability was found in a number of cameras and is “due to an insecurely designed cloud-backbone system that was initially created to enable the owners of these cameras to remotely access video from their devices.” Hackers, however, need to know the camera’s serial number in order to access it, so it’s not as easy as it sounds.

While some manufacturers already fixed these flaws, others haven’t.  

“The problem with current IoT device security is that both customers and vendors mistakenly think that if you place the device inside your network, and separate it from the wider internet with the help of a router, you will solve most security problems - or at least significantly decrease the severity of existing issues. In many cases this is correct: before exploiting security issues in devices inside of a targeted network, one would need to gain access to the router. However, our research shows that this may not actually be the case at all: given that the cameras we investigated were only able to talk with the external world via a cloud service, which was totally vulnerable,” said Vladimir Dashchenko, head of vulnerabilities research group at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT.

“The interesting thing is that besides the previously-described attack vectors such as malware infections and botnets, we found that the cameras could also be used for mining. While mining is becoming one of the main security threats facing businesses, IoT mining is an emerging trend due to the growing prevalence of IoT devices, and will continue to increase,” he added.

Photo Credit: bergserg/ Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.