Calgary

Home security camera default usernames and passwords may invite peeping Toms, Calgary police warn

If you’re still using the default username and password on your IP home security camera, the feed from your kitchen, bedroom and even your baby’s crib could be available online for anyone to see, warn Calgary police.

Video feeds of cribs, bedrooms and kitchens unknowingly being streamed online

You may want to change your password on your home surveillance cameras from the default settings, as it could end up streaming online. (CBC News)

If you're still using the default username and password on your home surveillance devices, whatever is happening in your kitchen, bedroom — even your baby's crib — could be available online for anyone to see, Calgary police warn.

"From a baby monitor to a front doorbell camera — they're all connected to your home WiFi network through your home router. So that's most likely where the majority of the vulnerabilities are coming from," said Const. Jeremy Shaw.

The digital communications officer said the problem starts when homeowners have an open WiFi network or a router with a predictable password like "adminadmin" or "passwordpassword." 

Then, they don't change the generic IP addresses, usernames and passwords that come with the security camera.

Once you've been hacked, your video feed is considered an open network and the footage can be picked up on aggregating websites that stream live video.

"There's not wrong-doing in accessing that. So it's a matter of being aware of your settings and making sure that network is secure and you don't have your WiFi open," said Shaw.

And while those aggregating sites do stream feeds intended for public viewing — such as weather, traffic and wildlife cams — Shaw has seen many families that appear to have "no idea someone is watching them."

The password you really ought to change

Calgary police became aware of this issue after being contacted by a woman from Texas who had downloaded an app featuring several live feeds.

"She just kind of said, 'Hey you should probably know that there's people in your jurisdiction that have their cameras online, I'm not sure if they're aware of it or not,' [and] that's where we started to look into it," said Shaw.

The key message, said Shaw, is to make sure you change those default passwords and "pick something a little more unique."


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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