BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Public and private surveillance cameras are all around us capturing our every move. On Your Side investigators found thousands on a Russian security camera website called "Insecam". Depending on the day, more than a dozen are live streaming in the Birmingham metro.
There are several pages showing cameras around Alabama.
We found a few that appear to be on UAB's campus. One overlooks the softball field and caught students walking by it off guard.
"Quite creepy. Its Worrying, quite worrying," Chris Walton, a UAB student said. "For security reasons I guess."
We found a private camera inside a business. Another one outside someone's home. We also found a camera eyeing what takes place on a front porch in the Avondale area. We watched as the mailman walked towards the door..seconds later we see him on the website.
"Insecam is a website that's displaying open cameras on the internet. They are just unsecured cameras that you can just go and find," Dave Love, an information technology expert who owns a computer business in Tuscaloosa said.
You'll find living rooms, bedrooms, and even baby monitors on the website. Love says it doesn't take long for hackers to see what your camera is seeing. All they need is your camera's default password. In other words, when you installed the camera, you more than likely didn't change the password.
"People buy things and then they just want to turn them on and get them working and they don't really put in a password or do any kind of security measures that would actually lock these cameras down and keep you from seeing them online," Love said.
The website claims to be designed to show the importance of security settings. Love doesn't actually believe Russians are spying on us.
"Russian hackers have been around since the internet has started. It's just more people up to nefarious deeds that the country they are in doesn't really matter. I mean the United States has its own fair share of hackers too," said Love.
Love says if you are concerned someone could be watching you online, change your camera's password immediately. Love says you can also cover the camera with tape to block the view.
"If you don't want people viewing you, live on the internet..you've got to lock it down. You simply cannot leave it wide open," Love added.
It's still unclear why private cameras showing the inside of people's homes or businesses are on the site. Police tell us this could give burglars and even stalkers opportunities to see when you are and aren't home.
On its website, Insecam lists the following actions to protect people's privacy:
- Only filtered cameras are available now. This way none of the cameras on Insecam invade anybody's private life.
- Any private or unethical camera will be removed immediately upon e-mail complaint. Please provide a direct link to help facilitate the prompt removal of the camera.
- If you do not want to contact us by e-mail, you can still remove your camera from Insecam. The only thing you need to do is to set the password of your camera.
- You can add your camera to the directory by following next link. It will be available only after administrator's approval.
The coordinates of the cameras are approximate. They point to the ISP address and not the physical address of the camera. This information is accurate only to a few hundred miles. The coordinates are provided only to locate the city where the camera is located, but not it's exact position or address.
We reached out to Insecam with questions about security and privacy, but haven't heard back yet.