Police probe local webcam hacking fears

File photo dated 06/08/13 of someone using a laptop keyboard, as the UK's privacy watchdog warned that people could be watched in their own homes or at work with hackers targeting household webcams and uploading live footage to the internet. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 20, 2014. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has urged people to upgrade their passwords after a Russian-based website was found to be accessing cameras in everything from CCTV to baby monitors. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Webcams. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 06/08/13 of someone using a laptop keyboard, as the UK's privacy watchdog warned that people could be watched in their own homes or at work with hackers targeting household webcams and uploading live footage to the internet. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 20, 2014. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has urged people to upgrade their passwords after a Russian-based website was found to be accessing cameras in everything from CCTV to baby monitors. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Webcams. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
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POLICE are investigating a number of broadcasts over fears private webcams in Cleveland were targeted by hackers.

It comes after a Russian website was found to be hosting hundreds of feeds of live footage from unwitting UK homes and businesses including CCTV cameras and baby monitors.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers say they are currently looking into a number of broadcasts that could be in the Cleveland area and are urging people with webcams, including those used for home security, to change their usernames and passwords.

They say those who have not changed the manufacturer’s default password on their cameras could be leaving themselves open to hackers.

Default login credentials are freely available online for thousands of cameras.

Chief Inspector Steve Young of the NCA said: “We are conducting proactive enquiries to try to identify the webcams that have been hacked at addresses that may be in the Cleveland area.

“We would ask those with these types of cameras to change their usernames and passwords in order to protect themselves, especially where the default password provided with the product has not been changed already.

“Where we have become aware of potential criminal offences we will determine any necessary criminal action.

“Those who may be concerned about their security settings are advised to unplug their camera at the power source until they can be further secured.”

The National Crime Agency is advising people to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website at

www.actionfraud.police.uk