With Holiday Shopping Season Now In Full Swing… SCHUMER: POPULAR “SMART” TVS, WEBCAMS & BABY MONITORS ALLOW HACKERS TO USE BUILT-IN CAMERAS TO SPY INTO HOMES & LIVE STREAM PRIVATE LIVES FOR ALL TO SEE; A FEAR REALIZED THIS WEEK WHEN RUSSIANS HACKED THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS – SENATOR CALLS FOR MANUFACTURERS TO MAKE IMMEDIATE SECURITY CHANGES TO NEW DEVICES TO PROTECT NYERS FROM VOYEURISM, ROBBERY & EVEN BLACKMAIL
Baby Monitors, WebCams & New “Smart” TV’s With Built-In Cameras, Microphones, and Internet Access, Expose New Yorkers to Hackers that Can Spy into Living Rooms & Bedrooms - Like the Foreign Websites www.insecam.cc– Senator Says Manufacturers Lack Key Security Protections, Like A Required Password Change Upon Setting Up Device
Russian Website, Now Shut Down, Demonstrated That Thousands of NYers Can Easily Be Hacked Through Personal TVs & Other Devices, By Remotely Turning On Cameras and Microphones, Spying On Families’ Living Rooms & More – This Exposes NYers to Blackmail, Robbery When Homes Are Empty
Schumer Calls For TV, Camera, Baby Monitor Manufacturers To Adopt Improved Standards Of Security To Be Used In All New Devices, Like Forcing Individualized Passwords Rather than Using Default Passwords, Which Create An Easy Way In For Hackers
As holiday shopping season ramps up, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on device manufacturers to adopt improved safety and security standards to help prevent hackers from breaking into individuals' camera-enabled devices, and live streaming personal lives for all to see. Schumer said that newer “smart” televisions and other devices, such as baby monitors or webcams, now equipped with built-in cameras, microphones and internet access, are valuable innovations but have posed a threat to New Yorkers since their development, and that concern became a reality last week when the Russian website www.insecam.cc hacked into homes and streamed live footage from thousands of cameras ranging from baby monitors, webcams and surveillance cameras. Hackers were able to access cameras when default passwords set by manufacturers remained unchanged once set up in a home or business. Schumer today said that, although that one website has since been changed, there’s nothing to prevent similar privacy breaches from occurring, which expose thousands of New Yorkers to voyeurism, robbery and even blackmail, and security settings, set by the device manufacturers, must change to protect consumers. Schumer today called for television, camera, and baby monitor manufacturers to improve security standards on these devices.
Specifically, Schumer said that manufacturers should require consumers to automatically set a unique password when installing one of these products. Schumer also applauded the Federal Trade Commission for its work protecting consumers’ data security and privacy, including recent enforcement actions. Schumer urged the Federal Trade Commission to pay specific attention to this potential threat; to work with industry to adopt improved safety and security standards so that hackers cannot break into these new devices; and to use its enforcement authority against companies it finds are not adequately protecting their consumers.
"Popular items on our shopping lists this holiday season include ‘smart’ television, webcams and baby monitors, but rather than adding convenience and security to our homes, these devices roll out the welcome mat for potential voyeurs, robbers, blackmailers and other criminals,” said Senator Schumer. “The recent privacy breach by Russian hackers unfortunately demonstrated the urgency that we must take in improving security settings on these great devices, and I am urging these manufacturers to better protect consumers by making immediate changes to new camera-enabled devices, in conjunction with experts at the FTC. A change in security policy, as simple as requiring consumers to set a unique password upon setup of their device, could prevent similar cyber attacks from being successful in the future."
Schumer said today that without changes to security settings on internet-enabled camera devices, like smart televisions and new baby monitors, the private lives of consumers can be publicly exposed on the web. But that is not the only risk - these devices also collect sensitive data that could be exposed if the devices are hacked. According to experts at the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, “smart” televisions log the amount of time you watch tv, the content of what is being watched, and more. These devices also record which apps the owner uses, detects content in particular email messages and which websites are visited, and ignores “do-not-track” requests. Smart televisions utilize facial and voice recognition through built-in cameras and microphones, and anything detected through those devices can be captured and transmitted to a third party as privacy and security policy currently stands.
Schumer today urged major manufacturers to institute improved security standards for new products. Schumer explained that the recent privacy breach by Russian hackers highlighted a major security flaw and consumers should not feel that they are being spied on. Schumer made the case that more personalized security, like ending the practice of default passwords and instead requiring consumers to set their own unique passwords, would assure consumers that manufacturers are doing everything possible to prevent hackers from gaining access into their living room, bedroom and more.
According to recent reports, hackers in Russia broke into over 70,000 cameras across the world, including over 4,000 cameras in the United States, by using camera manufacturers' default passwords. Live video feed from the hacked cameras had at one time been streamed on the foreign website www.insecam.cc.The site says its purpose is "to show the importance of settings and changing the security settings on internet cameras."
The types of cameras hacked included baby monitors, webcams, “smart” tvs with built in cameras, and surveillance cameras. Live-streamed footage on the site included everything from babies sleeping in their cribs to footage of store employees working behind a counter to the hallway of a high school. The website, www.insecam.cc, recently announced that they had removed all cameras that use default password settings and now, only public cameras without any password protection are available on the site. Schumer today said that, even with these changes, cameras using default passwords are still at risk to future hacking by anyone else using the same trick the Russian site had used.