NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You install a security camera to keep an eye on your business or home, and keep your family safe.
As CBS2’s Alex Denis found out, you may not be the only one watching.
Millions could be tuning in to what you’re doing every day, and you would have no idea of knowing who is watching you.
Some of your most intimate and personal moments take place in the privacy of your own home — or so you may think.
“They are being watched,” cyber security expert Ian Culleton said.
Every move made from watching TV, eating dinner, picking up the baby, changing clothes, or wearing none at all may be under surveillance.
“I’ve watched you eat, I’ve watched you. You had a white shirt on the other day. I’ve been watching you,” CBS2’s Denis told one woman.
CBS2 found it easy to peer in on thousands of compromised security cameras from around the country.
The live-streamed video broadcasts children from inside their day cares, and classrooms, at work, and even in their places of worship.
“The security camera that is meant to protect you guys is actually broadcasting that image out,” CBS2’s Denis explained to a woman at the store.
She was shocked when she found out how her employer’s compromised security camera not only allowed us to watch her, but track her down to a Midtown location.
“Oh my god,” she replied.
Culleton works with the coding school Hack Reactor. He said it’s a Russian website that’s been collecting live footage and posting online where people not only watch it, but comment as well.
Retired NYPD detective Joe Giacalone explained the motivation.
“Believe it or not, people pay money for this. Especially if they get a video clip of people doing things they would normally do in the privacy of their own homes,” he said.
It could also be used to stake out a location, like an Upper East Side townhouse.
“They can find out when people come and go, make an opportunity to burglarize it,” he said.
The live feed also reveals an approximate address within a few feet.
“The bushes, everything would be a dead giveaway,” he said.
And you might be responsible for it all.
Password protected wifi is not enough. Each brand of camera arrives with the same default settings, and it’s up to the user to change them.
“Not changing your default user name and password is a little bit like hiding your key under the mat. You’re still locking your door, but it’s the first place a potential home invader is going to look,” Culleton explained.
That simple update can protect your privacy from prying eyes.