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Terrifying IoT Search Engine Lets You Spy On Strangers' Webcams

January 26, 2016 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by Vocativ

It's called Shodan and it just got much easier to use

Think of the millions of devices with video feeds--maybe the baby monitor perched over your kid's crib or a security camera looking out over your back porch. A new feature on the most popular search engine for the Internet of Things just made it a lot easier to find such feeds. And it's even creepier than you can imagine./p>

Shodan is a website that scans the internet for publicly accessible devices and captures their IP addresses--creating a searchable index that includes everything from in-home surveillance cameras to traffic lights to fetal heart monitors to power switches for hospitals. Essentially any of the so-called Internet of Things that doesn't have a password is up for grabs, and that's more devices than you'd think.

Programmer John Matherly developed the site in 2009 when he was a teenager, and he originally thought his pet project would help large tech companies see who was using their devices. But now the site is mostly used by hackers and researchers. Until recently, Shodan was used almost exclusively within the cybersecurity community, because searches require a general understanding of technical language. But a new feature has made it easier for anyone to peek people's home surveillance devices. The new channel includes screen grabs of security camera feeds along with their location.

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