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U.S. still No. 1 for unsecured security cameras: Creepy site linked to over 5,700 in U.S.

Dec 21, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecuritySecurity

A year later, the U.S. is still number one by having more insecure security cameras than any other nation in the world, and anyone with an Internet connection can peer into the owners' businesses, homes, and even the privacy of bedrooms.

In November 2014, access to the video streams of 73,011 unsecured security cameras were available on a site that provided a Peeping Tom paradise for voyeurs and creepers. At that time, there were 11,046 unsecured security cameras in the U.S. Now there is roughly half that amount, but the U.S. is still number one by having more insecure security cameras than any other nation in the world.

On December 17, there were 4,104 unsecured security cameras located in the United States that were listed as part of the Insecam project, which claims to have “the world’s biggest directory of online surveillance security cameras.” With six cameras per page, that was equal to 684 pages which I viewed while counting the brand of network video cameras available online, because each of those U.S. cameras did not have a unique password to protect it. That took between five and six hours, including the time to grab some screenshots as well; during that time, the number of unsecured cameras in the U.S. fluctuated wildly and dropped to barely 4,000 before going back up to cover 684 pages again. The most common unsecured cameras in the U.S. found on that site was made by Foscam, and the first 30 pages of links to unsecured IP cameras linked back to those under the Foscam brand.

Although it is unlikely that thousands of Foscam camera owners wised up within a few days, of the eight brands featured on Insecam, Foscam dropped to sixth place in a matter of two days.

On December 19, there were 5,604 unsecured security cameras in the U.S., but the numbers did not fluctuate in the six hours spent counting them by brand. Today we are looking at unsecured cameras in the U.S. by the numbers.

There are only six cameras listed per page when browsing unsecured security cameras in the U.S., and clicking on any one of those takes a viewer to a page featuring a larger view of just that camera. On December 19, the U.S. had 934 pages of unsecured cameras, 250 more pages than just two days prior. Put another way, in two days’ time, 1,500 cameras were added to the list of unsecured cameras in the U.S.

By page 400, or 2,400 of the 5,604 unsecured cameras in the U.S., the count was:

  • Foscam:               10
  • Linksys:                 12
  • Netcam:                  2
  • Sony:                      6
  • Panasonic:            11
  • Axis:                 2,359
  • Axis2:                      0
  • TPLink:                    0

500 pages into the unsecured IP cameras in the U.S., or 3,000 of 5,604 total, the breakdown looked like this:

  • Foscam:                111
  • Linksys:                  144
  • Netcam:                 145
  • Sony:                       55
  • Panasonic:             111
  • Axis:                    2,430
  • Axis2:                         3
  • TPLink                       1

By page 600, 3,600 U.S. cameras of 5,604 security cameras without unique passwords to keep them private were:

  • Foscam:                166
  • Linksys:                  207
  • Netcam:                 362
  • Sony:                     125
  • Panasonic:            173
  • Axis:                    2,534
  • Axis2:                       28
  • TPLink:                      5

Page 700 of 934 pages, or 4,200 of 5,604 unsecured security cameras in the U.S., had a breakdown looking like this:

  • Foscam:               215
  • Linksys:                 286
  • Netcam:                457
  • Sony:                     292
  • Panasonic:            223
  • Axis:                   2,633
  • Axis2:                      86
  • TPLink:                     8

By page 800, or 4,800 of 5,604 unsecured cameras hooked to the Internet in US, the listings were as follows:

  • Foscam:               305
  • Linksys:                376
  • Netcam:                485
  • Sony:                    366
  • Panasonic:            317
  • Axis:                    2,809
  • Axis2:                     130
  • TPLink:                    12

By page 900, 5,400 of 5,604 connected cameras without unique passwords were the following brands:

  • Foscam:               305
  • Linksys:                401
  • Netcam:               485
  • Sony:                    366
  • Panasonic:           405
  • Axis:                   3,260
  • Axis2:                    156
  • TPLink:                    22

Finally, on December 19, hours after first starting, on page 934 that represented the last page of 5,604 total cameras in the U.S. in which users set them up without considering that they were opening a digital windows into their lives, the totals were:

  • Foscam:                 305
  • Linksys:                 483
  • Netcam:                 485
  • Sony:                      366
  • Panasonic:            527
  • Axis:                    3,260
  • Axis2:                     156
  • TPLink:                    22

A year ago, there were 73,011 total unsecured security cameras globally on Insecam; today, there are 21,122 listed globally. A year ago, there were 40,746 unsecured cameras for just the first 10 countries; today, there are 15,488 listed for the first 10 countries.

Notable changes also include the fact that there are no listings for Hikvision or AVTech DVRs; while cameras from manufacturers Foscam, Linksys, and Panasonic are still there, “new” to the list are unsecured Axis, Axis2, Sony, TPLink and Netcam cameras. Previously, other manufacturers were listed simply as “IP cameras.”

As mentioned before, the number of cameras continues to fluctuate with the U.S. always on top for bad security. Today, December 21, there are 955 pages of unsecured IP cameras in the United States, pushing the total up to 5,740; that is 136 more than just two days ago.

The numbers continue to change as anyone who can Google Dork or use Shodan can submit a camera to be added to the directory. The site claims it will remove cameras from the listing if it is requested, but says “the only solution to make your camera private is to set up a password!”

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.