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Chinese hackers are selling stolen home security footage as home videos

And people are actually buying them.

facial recognition cameras monitoring surveillance
Image: Unsplash

Everyone is aware of the potential of hidden cameras being placed in things like Airbnb rooms and hotels, but a new report from The South China Morning Post details an entire network of people buying and selling more than just hidden camera footage.

Essentially, hackers are breaking in and stealing home security footage and selling it through various methods. One of the more popular being through Tencent’s QQ messaging service. One of the sellers told SCMP that basic footage can go for about $3 a video, while footage featuring nudity or sexual acts can go for $8 a clip.

Past that, people can even purchase real-time viewing by obtaining IDs and passwords for $11 and this typically includes up to 10 households. There are also bundles that include both live-viewing for hotels and households. These run around $23 a bundle and there are even tiers that allow for more real-time viewing.

security footage in china
Image: SCMP

SCMP notes that it seems the majority of the footage comes from Guangdong, Hunan, and Hubei. One person who spoke with them said, “I have so many video clips that you can’t finish them all within six months even if you watch 24 hours a day.” They go on to say that they have people all around the country placing cameras in hotel rooms and that even if the cameras are discovered, it’s a minimal inconvenience as the cost of footage far outweighs the price of a camera.

While the report gives no mention of the US, it’s hard to believe that this is completely absent here. It’s definitely unsettling, so maybe reconsider keeping WiFi security cameras in sensitive places around your home.

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