CTV reports on the astonishing lack of security for Internet-networked devices. The search engine in question, Shodan, might be appalled for what it enables, but the manufacturters bear much more responsibility.
A young child asleep on a couch in Israel. Mourners huddled together at a small funeral in Brazil. An elderly woman stretching in a fitness centre in Poland. All available for anyone to watch via the unsecured webcams overhead.
This isn’t “1984,” it’s the world in 2016. Shodan, a search engine that indexes computers and devices rather than information, now allows users to pull screenshots from nanny cams, security cameras and other connected devices around the world that don’t ask for a username or password.
Those screenshots are connected to an IP address, a unique identifier for each Internet connection or device that can be traced back to a general geographic area.
Anne Cavoukian, former Ontario privacy commissioner and now the executive director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University, said she was appalled when she saw the Shodan webcam search in action.
Yet, she said, it’s only a symptom of the wider problem with the so-called Internet of Things, where many webcams and other connected devices such as wearables, TVs and thermostats ship with a low level of security — and some with none at all.