March 15, 2017
Open cameras at several businesses across the country showed cashiers sitting in cages. Some cameras showed perimeter fencing and were outfitted with ultraviolet technology. Another open IP (Internet protocol) address allowed a user to fiddle with voltage settings in what appeared to be some kind of oil company's system.
At least 1,000 businesses, homes and churches in The Bahamas are potentially compromised by open IP addresses that can be found on the Internet by anyone with an intermediate-level search ability. This is not hacking, according to the principal of Intelligent Enforcement Ltd. (IntelEnforce), Donovan Paul, as searching for open addresses is a feature of any typical computer.
"The installation of surveillance cameras creates a sense of 'security' for residents and commercial owners," said Paul.
"The feature of remote access is an added benefit, but it can also be damaging if cameras are left opened on the Internet for others to scope out. Very recently Intelligent Enforcement Ltd. conducted a study to test how many cameras of Bahamian business are exposed to Internet voyeurism and hacking. The results from this study were astonishing.
"Against this background IntelEnforce - a company committed to security enforcement - decided to support local businesses by scanning and reporting security threats while offering viable recommendations."
In the search for open IP addresses, even some security monitoring companies had left their camera systems' usernames and passwords at the default setting, which in some instances required nothing at all to be entered.
Paul said he was taken aback by the amount of open camera systems across the country.
Typically these systems are installed and sometimes monitored by security companies that do not go through the process of simply changing the password.
Paul said his company began to alert companies with open surveillance cameras about the potential breach of security. In some instances he received calls back from the installers of the cameras who took his interference as a personal affront.
Paul said he also contacted the cyber crimes unit of the police to simply make it aware that businesses, churches, schools, web shops and even government offices are compromised by open systems.
His company is seeking to prevent crimes and make reporting them easier. However, he said some security companies that install cameras have made it easy for criminals to infiltrate businesses simply by neglecting to lock intruders out with a password.
Some of the open systems Paul's company has found even has audio. Chatter could be heard by the cashiers on the system of one New Providence gas station.
Paul implored that all businesses with surveillance systems check the back-end of their systems to ensure that their security companies have them secured.
"IntelEnforce strongly recommends that as the internet is a public domain, all devices connected to the internet should be uniquely password protected," said Paul. "Failing to do so is equivalent to leaving the keys to your home or business in the door, and then placing your door in the middle of a public road."
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