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Poorly Secured Webcam Starts Following Owner, Says “Hello”

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In yet another example that IoT security is pretty much nonexistent for many of the devices we bring into our homes, a woman in the Netherlands was being followed by her camera while the voice of the hacker creepily greeted her.

Rilana Hamer bought the webcam from a Dutch discount store thinking that it would be great to check in on her puppy while away from home. In the end, the poor security of the camera resulted in her being the one watched by someone who hacked into her device.

According to her Facebook post, the camera began moving about a month or two after she bought it, going back and forth. Thinking she had gone crazy, she moved around the room only for the camera to follow her movement. Rightfully creeped out, Hamer unplugged the camera and put it in a box. Convinced by a friend to record the incident, she took it back out and before long it came back to life. The recording she posted on Facebook shows the camera following her movements and asking if she spoke French. Eventually, the woman yells at the intruder to get out of her house while the hacker continues to tease her. In the end, the conversation turns to expletives.

“My privacy, my house, my personal stuff and myself… I’m scared… terrified. I’m being watched, but for how long? What did that person see from me?” Hamer writes.

This isn’t the first time a webcam has been used for such activities due to the weak security usually surrounding such devices.

The store where the camera was bought from told RTL that even though the camera has been on sale since May and many have been sold, this is the first time such a complaint was made. That being said, there’s no clue who the manufacturer of the camera is or what exactly the problem with it was. It is likely, however, that some port was left open and an intruder managed to worm his way into the device and into this woman’s life. In the past, there have been even creepier incidents, after all, involving a connected dildo, for instance, with poor security settings, allowing for someone else to watch the footage and even to stream it online.

Many experts in cybersecurity have called for better security practices in the IoT industry particularly due to situations like this. You think that you are safe from prying eyes when you are inside your own home, but with this type of connected devices, it seems that you’re far from that. As Mikko Hypponen’s law says – if an appliance is “smart,” it’s also vulnerable.

Hopefully, we’ll have more info on this particular case soon enough, but there are quite high chances that it’s going to get swept under the rug and forgotten.

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