Security Cameras at Tesla, Hospitals, and Jails Hacked for 'Fun'

Over 150,000 surveillance cameras in hundreds of businesses were tapped into by the group of hackers.
Fabienne Lang

A group of hackers says it's gained access to over 150,000 security cameras' live and archived footage from hundreds of organizations, including Tesla. They managed to do so by hacking into Verkada's network — a startup that makes and sells surveillance cameras. 

The hackers published the videos and images from the surveillance cameras that were placed in companies, jails, hospitals, schools, and more, wrote Bloomberg, who was the first to report the breach.

Swiss software developer and member of a hacker collective that calls itself APT 69420 Arson Cats, Tillie Kottmann, told ArsTechnica that they shared screenshots of the footage on Twitter (the contents of which have now been removed). 

How the group hacked into the system, and why

When speaking with ArsTechnica, Kottmann explained that the group was able to gain access to the cameras after Verkada made apparent an unprotected internal development on the Internet. 

Once inside the network, the group said it had access to over 150,000 camera feeds, which included facial recognition and high-definition videos. 

Verkada has confirmed an intrusion and has since disabled all internal administrator accounts so as to keep out unauthorized access. Kottman confirmed that access was no longer possible hours before Bloomberg first reported the news on Tuesday.

When mentioning the reason behind the hack, Kottmann told Reuters that the group wanted to disclose the prevalence of close monitoring.

On top of that, Kottmann, who claims credit for the hack, told Bloomberg that the group's intentions included "lots of curiosity, fighting for the freedom of information and against intellectual property, a huge dose of anti-capitalism, a hint of anarchism - and it's also just too much fun not to do it".

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The footage of the hacked surveillance data has yet to be independently verified, but it goes to show how much our lives are being closely monitored in different and widespread organizations like schools and medical centers, amongst many others. 

Hacking is becoming more and more prevalent for different reasons. Just this week, information about potential Chinese and Russian hackers gaining access to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine data came to light, and last week, Microsoft's exchange email servers were hacked into.

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