Indianapolis News and Headlines


Websites stream Hoosiers' private lives

Posted at 9:46 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 23:44:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Think about this the next time you get out of the show or are making dinner, someone half a world away could be watching you. 

Your computer camera or security camera could be used against you. 

An elderly woman's living room in Indianapolis, an Indiana farm, backyards, front porches and an office in Indiana are all posted and streaming live online for the world to see. 

According to Nicholas Terry, an Indiana University law professor, unsecured or poorly protected computer cameras or security cameras linked to the web have been easily found and posted to websites. 

And because no one has had to hack their way in, Terry says they won't be liable. 

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"Generally speaking, no, they're not going to be liable. There's a federal law that generally protects websites for the stuff that goes up with them," Terry said. 

The people using these websites, not only start looking in on people's lives through unsecured cameras, but also start communicating with them. 

Some of the live video streams are tied to a relatively specific address of where they are. So, that streaming security camera you check from your phone, could also show people when you are not home. 

"The IP address of that camera, that's how we're figuring out the geo-location," Michael Taylor with Rock Security said. 

Taylor says this is a huge problem, with a simple fix. 

"You make sure you change the default passwords to something secure and significantly complex that's going to be difficult to guess," he said. 

And after you double-check passwords and security, maybe ask yourself a simple question. 

"Ask yourself, 'However convenient this might be, when I plug any of my toys into the net, do I really need it plugged into the net?'" Taylor said. 

This problem is typically confined to external computer cameras, security cameras, and even baby monitors linked to the web for you to watch from somewhere else or from your phone. 

Double check your passwords, and if you're ever worried about spyware that allows someone access your laptop camera, a simple piece of tape can provide some piece of mind. 

For more cyber security tips from Rock Security, click here.


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