Insecure security – do you trust your cameras?

Posted at 10:25 PM, May 02, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY -- Security cameras aren't just for banks and museums anymore, millions of people peek at their property while they're away - catching criminals in the act; trespassers, burglars and porch pirates.

But what if other people could use your own security system to spy on you, hacking into your camera?

“Any network engineer that's worth their salt could do something like this very easily," Pete Ashdown, tech expert, said.

Ashdown is talking about what's available on websites like views of front porches and back yards inside elevators and inside homes, the website links to hundreds of cameras from Utah.

“Most people are unaware,” Ashdown said.

Kevin and Kristen Killpack had no idea live footage of their home was being streamed over the internet until we identified their home through clues provided by their own cameras and showed up at their door.

"It's kind of an invasion of your privacy, you think you're putting in a security system to protect your home but it's actually a way for people to know when you're leaving so they can break in,” Kristen said.

Businesses were even easier to identify.

“It's a major privacy issue and a violation of people's rights,” said Terry Stephens business owner of Art270.

Three cameras span Terry Stephens shop in Salt Lake City keeping an eye on the street.

“It's a horrible precedence to know someone could be watching your patterns and knowing when you come and go,” Stephens said.

How do internet trolls end up with a front row show at your home or business?

“People are just taking it out of the box and plugging it in and thinking that it's all they need to do,” Ashdown said.

Ashdown says if your system doesn't have a password or still has the manufacturers default one you're at risk.

“This is just opening a window that an anonymous person you have no idea who they are, what their background is, what their history is, to peer into your house,” Ashdown said. “They just scan the entire Internet they look for open ports and then they look for open passwords.”

According to Ashdown, if you simply set up a password or passphrase it can make it more difficult to hack into a camera.

We reached out to but did not hear back. Their website says they are simply trying to raise awareness of this problem and will take down any inappropriate or compromising cameras.