herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

CCTV hacker won't say sorry to Irish victims

CCTV hacker won't say sorry to Irish victims
CCTV hacker won't say sorry to Irish victims

THE owner of a Russian website that streamed footage from 53 unsecured Irish webcams and CCTV has refused to apologise to Irish people whose homes appeared in footage posted online.

According to the administrator, the website crashed last week amid negative publicity.

The site featured thousands of videos, including streams showing children's playrooms and other private living spaces.

Now it's back online and just two Irish streams remain - both in Dublin.

One shows a gated driveway and the other features a river. All of the videos from inside Irish homes have been removed.

The site gained notoriety when the UK Information Commissioner issued a warning to people to change default passwords on any devices with cameras that are connected to the internet.

The website's administrator would not reveal his name to the Herald but confirmed he is a Russian national.

He said the site crashed when 3,000 users logged on last week while it was making headlines here and in Britain.

He now admits that having the video footage of children's rooms online was "a big problem" and said he was not aware when he started the website of how many parents used cameras to monitor their children.

"I was removing such cameras by complaint. But after a flow of complaints I had to remove all cameras and publish it only after manual filtering," he said, explaining the changes to the website.

He said that he will not apologise to Irish people who had their footage streamed because he believes it was the only way to highlight security problems.

"I agree that nobody can violate privacy," he admitted.

privacy

"I think the latest changes on the site can help to protect privacy," he added.

And he claimed he was doing camera owners a favour by featuring their streams, saying they would have to "live with the stress of being watched on camera for many years" if he hadn't set up the site and they later found out their CCTV was not secure.

"The site gives the simple ability to view insecure cameras but owners can't imagine how many users watch them directly without the site," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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