Tens of thousands of video clips taken from compromised or purposely planted IoT cameras are being sold on dark web markets or private chat groups, according to Chinese media.
Hundreds of users of easily hackable home security cameras may have had their privacy compromised, as reported by Henan Television.
Apart from hacking into cameras in private homes, the criminals also record footage from spycams plated in hotel rooms and short-term rental apartments. Some of the cam recordings have a duration of 8 hours. And in some cases, the sellers offer live video feeds from the hacked IoT cameras.
The bad actors sell such videos for $3 apiece, but a clip’s price may jump to $8 if it shows nudity or sexual acts.
An anonymous seller offered a reporter to buy user IDs and passwords of all cameras in 10 houses for just $11. While 10 hotels and 10 households run for $23, and the “ultimate pack” of 20 hotels and 20 households would cost $39. According to the news report, one seller sold 8,000 videos from cameras located in the Guangdong, Hunan, and the Hubei provinces making roughly $24,000.
It is reported, the same hacker distributes their content to “VIP members” of his/her QQ chat, who often resell the videos to someone else.
The criminal explained that in order to plant spy cameras, he hires dozens of “agents” to go in hotels and install them. The seller says some clips are “unremarkable” but still sell hundreds of times. Buyers, the seller explained, just like the feeling that comes with invading other peoples’ privacy.
To minimize the risks of your home’s camera getting hacked, always keep its firmware up to date and regularly change the credentials, and definitely don’t use the default ones.
To protect yourself from spycams in rented spaces, try finding them – inspect all places a tiny camera can be planted in – smoke detectors, digital alarm clocks, books, photo frames, electrical outlets, USB wall chargers, torches, etc.