Just when you thought that cameras kept you safe, something comes along to reveal that they can steal your privacy. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Chinese hackers have been stealing private footage from security cameras and selling it online.
Quoting the Chinese outlet Henan Television, SCMP reported that the videos are sold through social media and that they have prices according to how exciting the footage is. Video clips involving nudity or sexual acts are the most expensive at 50 yuan ($8) each, while simpler more everyday-like videos are 20 yuan ($3).
The hackers are also selling real-time viewing through the use of camera IDs and passwords. These cost just 70 yuan ($11) for 10 households, while 10 hotels plus 10 households will cost you 150 yuan ($23), and 20 hotels plus 20 households can go up to 258 yuan ($39).
And it turns out there is no shortage of videos. One hacker who steals the videos and then sells them to other agents who then sell them to private individuals said he had up to 8000 videos just in February.
“I have so many video clips that you can’t finish them all within six months even if you watch 24 hours a day,” he said to Henan Television. “If you want to earn money, you can be my agent — getting them at a lower price from me and selling at a higher price."
He also added that he had dozens of people traveling around the country to install cameras. He explained that even if the cameras were discovered it would merely cost him a few yuans which he could easily make up by selling some footage.
The practice is of course illegal, but catching the hackers is much harder than finding them online. It would likely require catching them in the act of installing the secret cameras.