Britain issues warning over hacked webcams, baby monitors, and CCTV cameras

LONDON (AFP) - Hackers have accessed household webcams, baby monitors and CCTV cameras with footage appearing online on a website in Russia, Britain's privacy watchdog warned Thursday.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that hackers were taking advantage of devices without security protection and with weak passwords.

Homes and businesses across the UK have been targeted, including a gym in Manchester, a house in Birmingham, and an office in Leicester.

"The website, which is based in Russia, accesses the information by using the default login credentials, which are freely available online, for thousands of cameras," explained Simon Rice, ICO group manager for technology.

"The footage is being collected from security cameras used by businesses and members of the public, ranging from CCTV networks used to keep large premises secure, down to built-in cameras on baby monitors.

"This is a threat that all of us need to be aware of and be taking action to protect against." Rice warned that those who use their webcams remotely to monitor their property were particularly vulnerable.

"As a last resort, you can always cover the lens if you don't want to use the camera all of the time," he suggested.