Hacking the Gibson, One Small Camera at a Time

What if you could look down on people across the world without them knowing? Almost a god like view that often governments enjoy like in the movie “Enemy of the State” except without the hocus pocus of going through satellites and stuff. We explore this interesting world on this entry of the Programming Underground!

Every day hundreds if not thousands of video cameras are installed around the world to track people and property. They claim it is strictly for security reasons to protect ourselves and to monitor what is being done in real time. But with so many of them being hooked up and attached to the Internet, what would stop people from abusing it?

Awhile back I decided to go deep underground into the world of insecure video camera feeds that were alive and well on the Internet. I found hundreds of them of various types staring straight into stores, bars, outside cameras of secure areas and even airports. Not only was I able to view through these cameras, in many cases I was able to even control their view! I could zoom in and pan around. I even zoomed in on a license plate and into passing cars on the streets. What may be more dangerous than what I can see with a camera is what I can make it NOT see.

One shot I got was of an airport in Montana (this is for you bigbluesky!) where I had full control of one of their runway cameras. Now I was able to pan around, zoom and the whole nine yards, but what if I was to collaborate with someone on the ground there and redirect that camera away from a sensitive area while the person there was to do something they shouldn’t? Sure, after the fact they may know of my IP address but if I am bouncing through proxies and such, I could probably lose authorities or at least have them track it to a wonderful Starbucks somewhere where I hacked the camera while sipping some of those yummy fraps.

I think companies should be held a bit more responsible about what their cameras are showing the world. Sure they may not care I can see right into their little convenience store in hoboken arkansas, but if I witness how they close up the shop and where they store the valuables I could make it a nice pay day at their expense! On top of this I could use it to identify people in the store, how much cash is in the register and when to tell my buddy outside that the clerk is in the back.

I had asked what it would be like to have a god like view on everyone and all I can say is that it is fun, but if I was the devil I could certainly stir up the trouble!

Below is some screenshots of my ventures across the world from eastern US to places in Europe. Enjoy!

Inside Camera View

About The Author

Martyr2 is the founder of the Coders Lexicon and author of the new ebooks "The Programmers Idea Book" and "Diagnosing the Problem" . He has been a programmer for over 25 years. He works for a hot application development company in Vancouver Canada which service some of the biggest tech companies in the world. He has won numerous awards for his mentoring in software development and contributes regularly to several communities around the web. He is an expert in numerous languages including .NET, PHP, C/C++, Java and more.