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British Watchdog Wants Russian Hacking Site Shut

Who all is watching?
Who all is watching?

Britain's privacy watchdog is warning the public about a Russian-based website showing thousands of hacked live feeds from homes and businesses around the world.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said on November 20 that the site contains live footage from devices around the world such as CCTV cameras and built-in cameras on baby monitors, taking advantage of insufficient security protection or weak passwords.

Christopher Graham, the information commissioner, told the BBC said he wanted to "sound a general alert," warning "there are people out there who are snooping."

Graham said the ICO was planning prompt "regulatory action" against the website, adding that he would work with the Russian authorities and others to have it shut down.

Graham said that the website, which is based in Russia, is registered in "an offshore territory administered by Australia."

Data watchdogs across the world have already drawn attention to the site, which lists streams from more than 250 countries.

The ICO said that around 500 feeds had been targeted in Britain alone, including a gym in Manchester, a house in Birmingham, and an office in Leicester.

The site's database also shows listings for 4,591 cameras in the United States, 2,059 in France, and 1,576 in the Netherlands.

Smaller numbers of feeds are also identified as being available from developing economies such as Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan.

The ICO advises camera owners to set hard-to-guess passwords instead of the default one that came with the device and to check their equipment and turn off remote access if they do not need it.

The watchdog, which did not provide the name of the website, acknowledged that some parts of the press might now identify the site, driving traffic to it.

Based on reporting by the BBC and AFP

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