CCTV /Webcam Users! Pay Attention!

Hello Everyone, my name is Rishabh Sharma. I am a cybersecurity consultant. People who are in the cybersecurity domain have crazy minds. They want to use this skill to know more about things that normal people don’t know. They feel it is a power on the internet.

In my college days, I was also curious to know how keyloggers, RAT, etc work and to get the information from other systems. I tried and was successful, I had started receiving the desktop screenshot and you know how it feels when you are just a learner and you hacked someone’s random system on the internet. Woohoo…. It was an awesome feeling but I know, it was wrong.

The story that I have shared with you is to inform you that don’t click on random links, don’t download random stuff which you are not aware of, use a firewall and antivirus tools, etc.

CCTV /Webcam Users! Pay Attention!

Nowadays, people are installing many CCTV cameras in their houses, private rooms, offices, private places, etc for security purposes and monitoring.

If you check for webcam numbers on the internet, it is increasing by 500–1000 cameras per day. Check here (https://images.shodan.io/)

They are using a strong username and password on the CCTV/webcam administrative access page. They think that they are secure because of this security control but here is the catch after using this control they are not completely secure. Still, the attacker is able to see them. Think how?

So in mostly all the CCTV cameras, the RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) is in use which is mostly open and doesn’t require any credentials by default. When any CCTV camera comes on the internet the administrative login page is protected in most cases but the RTSP protocol is not protected, which allows anyone to see you on the internet. This protocol helps you to see the streaming data that your CCTV camera is capturing.

Check (https://images.shodan.io/), you will find that the login page is protected but still we are able to see what the CCTV camera is capturing.

In the below Shodan screenshot, all the images that are visible to you have unprotected RTSP protocol and all these CCTV cameras are on the internet.

What is RTSP?
The Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is a network control protocol designed for use in entertainment and communications systems to control streaming media servers. The protocol is used for establishing and controlling media sessions between endpoints.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Time_Streaming_Protocol

RTSP URL looks like this
rtsp://admin:12345@192.168.1.210:554/Streaming/Channels/101
rtsp://192.168.1.210:554/1

I know, most of you after reading this and seeing the screenshot, thinking that how I am able to see others, what tools I have to use? Why the procedure is not mentioned here? :(
I know many of you already know that but most of them are still not aware and some of you are very interested in seeing other CCTV cameras but the focus of this article is to inform you about the big security issue because of which people and their families are vulnerable. This article is especially for the users who are using the CCTV camera in their houses or room or any private spaces.

How to protect?

  • Always use a strong username and strong password in the CCTV camera administrative login page.
  • Check for the RTSP authentication option in the CCTV camera before buying a CCTV camera.
  • Ask the vendor to enable RTSP authentication and strong credentials while installing the camera.
  • Try not to install the CCTV camera in your bedroom :P (I don’t know why people are installing it in their bedroom and also providing internet access)
  • If not needed, don’t give internet access to the CCTV camera and its administrative login page
  • Check on Google or ask your vendor “how to enable authentication for rtsp”
  • Default RTSP protocol is 554, change this port to a random port.
  • Update your CCTV camera firmware whenever it’s available.

Lack of technical awareness leads to being vulnerable.

Happy Learning….. :)

Cyber Security Consultant