Hackers target surveillance company and expose live camera feeds


Illustration for the article titled Hackers target the surveillance company, exposing 150,000 live camera images in hospitals, prisons and Tesla

Photo: Martin Bureau (fake images)

A group of hackers claims to have broken into the networks of cloud-based surveillance startup Verkada, gaining unfiltered access to thousands upon thousands of live security camera images in the process.

The stunt first attracted public attention on Tuesday afternoon, when a Twitter user calling herself “Tillie” began leaking alleged images of the attack on the Internet: “Ever wonder what a @Tesla warehouse looks like? ? ” the hacker joked, showing a photo of what appears to be an industrial facility.

Tillie, who goes by the full name Tillie Kottmann and uses they / them pronouns, is allegedly part of an international group of hackers responsible for having violated Verkada. according to the report from Bloomberg. Once inside, the hackers were able to use the company’s security sources to observe the inner workings of a multitude of organizations, including medical facilities, mental hospitals, prisons, schools and police departments, and even large companies such as Tesla, Equinox and Cloudflare. The scope of the hack seems huge.

Among other things, Kottmann hinted on Tuesday that his access to Verkada could have been used to hack into the laptop of Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince:

The group of hackers has drawn public attention in a very notable way, calling the intrusion campaign “Operation Panopticon” and claiming that they want to “end surveillance capitalism”By drawing attention to the ways in which ubiquitous surveillance dominates people’s lives. The group seems to leave by the nickname “incendiary cats” and also calls himself a “SUITABLE, “ in reference to the way the threat groupps are labeled “advanced persistent threats” by security research companies.

According to Bloomberg, “Arson Cats” gained entry to the company through a fairly massive security flaw: Hackers discovered a password and username for a Verkada administrative account publicly exposed to the Internet. In a Twitter message, Tillie reiterated this to Gizmodo, claiming that once they had compromised the administrator’s account (called “super administrator”), they were able to connect to any of the 150,000 videos in the Verkada library.

“The access we had allowed us to impersonate any user on the system and access their view of the platform,” said the hacker, further explaining that “superadmin rights are also those that grant us access to the root shell with just a click on a button “. . “

When asked if there was a political message behind the hack, Tillie said it was partly due to the fact that they hated “surveillance capitalism”:

“Yeah, I guess I hate capitalism in general, surveillance capitalism is an especially horrible and disgusting part,” said the hacker. “However, the information that having access to these camera signals has given us has also been a very interesting way to see things that we all know happens behind closed doors, but that we usually never get to see.”

At press time, representatives for Verkada could not be reached for comment. Emails sent to Tesla and Equinox have yet to receive a response. A representative from Cloudflare sent the following message:

We were alerted this afternoon that the Verkada security camera system that monitors major entry points and main thoroughfares in a handful of Cloudflare offices may have been compromised. The cameras were located in a handful of offices that have been officially closed for several months. As soon as we realized the compromise, we deactivated the cameras and disconnected them from the office networks. To be clear, this incident does not affect Cloudflare products and we have no reason to believe that an incident involving security cameras in the office would affect customers.

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