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In the world of modern technology, is anything really private?
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승인 2017.09.21  16:26:09
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▲ Photo courtesy The Jeju Weekly

Mrs. Park in her 30s heard an unexpected story from her friend. The video of the private life of a woman who looks just like Mrs. Park has been uploaded on the internet. Mrs. Park thought it was very strange so she checked the video.

The video that her friend found turned out to actually be Mrs. Park. She asked the police to investigate how someone had got a hold of the video. After investigating, the police announced that the IP camera installed at her house was hacked.

An IP camera is a type of digital video camera. Unlike CCTV, an IP camera operates by sending and receiving data over the internet (or a local network). They can shoot and transmit high quality video in real time as long as it is connected on the internet.

▲ Photo courtesy commons.wikimedia

This means that even when you are outside, it is possible to check the view from the camera in real time through a computer or a smartphone. You can even zoom in on a specific scene.

Like the incident of Mrs. Park, nowadays, many people like to install IP cameras in their homes or shops. While people are working outside, they can still watch their children or pets at home. Also, shop owners can install them to check if clerks are doing well when they are away from the shop.

This also means that if someone can hack into your camera, they could potentially spy on you while at home.

That is what happened to Mrs. Park. In fact, on this occasion, more than 50 people hacked about 1,400 IP cameras and watched the private life of women and spread the videos on the internet. They were caught by the police.

These IP cameras were hacked in various places, from homes to clothing shops. The videos that 50 criminals hacked were mainly of women walking around the home in their underwear or while naked.

▲ Photo courtesy myipcam (Not related to the crime in the article)

In some of the videos criminals had managed to change the angle of cameras in shops from the shop counter to the fitting room

According to a police investigation, the hacker said, "I started hacking with curiosity, and I continued to hack because it was easier than I thought."

The punishment for these hackers will be a maximum of five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won.

Mrs. Park said, "I heard that people tried to hack IP cameras but the IP camera has a password. So I did not even think about my IP camera being hacked." And "I never thought that my private life could be exposed on the Internet, I felt like the sky was falling and I was terrified and scared." and finally cried with tears.


How could they hack 1400 IP cameras protected with a password?

When you buy a new piece of technology, it will often come with a default password. Police found out that the hackers were simply targeting IP cameras that still had the default password. Most of the victims did not change the initial password of the IP cameras.

The passwords that victims used were an password like 1111 or 1234. So the criminals were looking for the passwords that have those numbers after accessing the camera's unique IP address.


The police recommended three ways to protect IP cameras from hacking

1. Download regularly the security program from IP camera manufacturer and update the program
2. Change the default password to a difficult to crack password. The password must contain special characters.
3. When not in use, turn off the power or stick paper on the lens of the camera.

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All materials on this site are protected under the Korean Copyright Law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published without the prior consent of Jeju Weekly.
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