A group of hackers have reported hacking into thousands of CCTV cameras and their archives collected by the Silicon Valley startup Verkada Inc. Burglars have access to live broadcasts from 150,000 surveillance cameras in hospitals, companies, police stations, prisons and schools.
Among the companies whose camera footage was obtained by hackers is the automaker Tesla Inc. and software provider Cloudflare Inc. In addition, the hackers watched videos from women’s clinics, psychiatric hospitals and Verkada’s own offices. Some cameras, including those in hospitals, use facial recognition technology to identify and categorize the people in the video. The hackers claim they also have access to the complete video archive of all Verkada customers.
In a video viewed by Bloomberg, a Verkada camera at Florida’s Halifax Health hospital captured a man being grabbed by eight hospital staff and pinned to a bed.
Another video, filmed at a Tesla warehouse in Shanghai, shows workers on an assembly line. The hackers said they had gained access to 222 cameras in Tesla’s factories and warehouses.
According to Tilly Kottmann, one of the hackers who claimed responsibility for the hacking in San Mateo, California, an international hacker collective was responsible for the hacking. The aim of the attack is to demonstrate the ubiquity of video surveillance and the ease of breaking into systems like Vercada. The hacker claims that the group had previously hacked Intel Corp. and the car manufacturer Nissan Motor Co. The reason for the hack is “a lot of curiosity, a struggle for freedom of information, anti-capitalism, a hint of anarchism. And besides, it’s too fun not to do it. “
Also, 330 security cameras at the Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama became available to hackers.
“We have disabled all internal administrator accounts to prevent any unauthorized access,” a Verkada spokesman said in a statement. “Our internal security team and an external security company are investigating the scale and scope of this problem, and we have notified law enforcement.”