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That video surveillance camera that needs no setup and works like a charm is (probably) vulnerable to cyberattacks

How beautiful and how cheap that video surveillance camera that you have bought online. How easy to install. So much so that when you are looking for how to see what it records from outside the home, you don’t have to do anything: the camera already does it all and you can see the images from any mobile phone with a 4G or 5G connection.

So far, everything seems like a great gift from the technology that surrounds us, but that magic that makes everything work as one would expect without doing (almost) anything has a lot of danger – millions of these cameras have been found to be easy to hack.

Not having to configure anything can be a sign that something is not right

Sergio López (@slpnix), software engineer at Red Hat, confirmed it on Twitter. The problem was already known, but Sergio told how after buying a security camera he discovered that as soon as he connected the camera to the home network discovered that without doing anything it was possible to see what it was emitting from an external connection, like the 4G network of your mobile.

That It seems a priori fantastic for users with a less technical profile and that they prefer to avoid the complications of this type of configuration, which usually makes it necessary to configure certain settings in the router that we use to “let through” the images to external networks.

However, this camera allowing something like this right off the bat is as dangerous as it is comfortable. The problem is that for these cameras to work like this from the first moment make use of connections to gigantic P2P networks.

As security expert Brian Krebs explained years ago, these networks are often managed by large conglomerates of Chinese companies. Another expert named Paul Marrapese also gave more recent data on this security problem that affects at least 3.7 million devices.

As Marrapese explained – his talk about it at DEF CON can be seen on YouTube – it is difficult to identify the affected devices because there are hundreds of brands that make these cameras, but if you are able to access the images from your video surveillance cameras without having touched anything in your router or firewall settings, that camera is probably using P2P.

These networks allow us to see those images from video surveillance cameras through a UID, a special identifier with which we can makes it unnecessary to configure dynamic DNS or port forwarding, common steps when giving “output” to network devices that we have at home, such as a NAS.

Security vulnerabilities that affect these devices allow for example an attacker to I can see those images without you knowing, And that’s even if the manufacturers claim that the transmissions are encrypted. Marrapese highlighted that a cyber attacker could exploit other vulnerabilities through these initials and take complete control of these devices or equipment on our network.

There are ways to try to fix this problem: The first option, Marrapese says, would be to buy these types of devices from more reputable manufacturers. The second, block outgoing traffic from UDP port 32100, something that will prevent access to the cameras from the outside (something that is certainly an important part of its appeal to monitor the house or any other location wherever we are) even if they continue to work on the local network.