Hackers Using TRENDnet Webcams to Spy on People - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Hackers Using TRENDnet Webcams to Spy on People

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When you buy an internet security camera or webcam, it's probably for peace of mind -- to keep an eye on the house or make sure the kids are okay.

Maybe it's just to watch the cats running around when you're away at work.

But have you ever thought about what you might be giving up in the process?

Did you ever imagine that the camera you use to watch the house could be used by strangers to watch you?

"You could see people in their bedrooms sleeping, children sleeping, children playing," said blogger Katie Notopoulos. She stumbled on something that hackers have known about for weeks: step-by-step instructions have been posted online showing exactly how to hack into several models of TRENDnet brand cameras from anywhere in the world.

Notopoulos writes for a news and technology site called "The Verge" and detailed exactly what she found: A list going around with roughly a thousand different camera feeds from various homes and businesses. You can imagine how quickly word spread among certain web users.

"It's not all teenage boys, but it's a lot of adolescent guys -- so the idea of being able to spy on people in their rooms -- they found people undressing in their bedrooms," she said.

The people being watched have no idea. The list has close to 100,000 views.

Security expert Roger Johnston, who heads up the vulnerability assessment team at Argonne National Laboratory, said this isn't the last time we're going to see a breach involving the cameras in our homes, so we all need to act accordingly.

"If you have a video camera, don't have it on all the time. When it's not necessary to monitor something, turn if off if you can, unplug the power, if you can," Johnston said. "I like to see the camera's pointed towards the wall, I like to use little post-it's to cover the when not in use."

"There are some things that you can do, just think carefully about why you're using this camera, where you're using it and how when you're using it."

It's important to mention that TRENDnet now knows that they have a major problem and has issued a critical update for 22 different models. If you have one of their cameras, you should log on to their website right now and make sure you have the latest firmware installed.

FOX Chicago News asked TRENDnet how many people are out there, unaware and exposed online. They refuse to say.

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