Bedroom "hot scenes" hacked from smart cameras and sold on social media

Screenshots of Telegram
(Image credit: Vnexpress)

Researcher Minh Hung discovered a group on Telegram, the encrypted messaging platform, which invited him to join, calling itself "A group specialized in hacking into private cameras of families and shops in Vietnam. All footage is dark corners and hot scenes from families."

According to a report in VNexpress, Members of the group offered three different 'packages' for access to the footage hacked from the cameras, with pricing tiers curiously mimicking those that some of the camera retailers use for their supposedly secure cloud subscriptions!

The cheapest was 150,000 Vietnamese Dong (VND), $6.16 / £4.84 / AU$9.14 for a selection of over 1,000 videos and random images, while VND500,000 ($20.53) brought higher quality footage with daily content updates. The top tier was called 'Super VIP' and included 4 years' worth of hacked footage from hundreds of cameras as well as live access for VND800,000 ($32.84).

Screenshots of Telegram

(Image credit: Vnexpress)

Horrifyingly the group proudly describe their hacking achievements with the tone of a promotional brochure for privacy breaking: "Our software constantly scans localities across the country. Most of the cameras are located in the corners of bedrooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms, toilets, hotels, clothing shops, massage parlors"

The report says that Hung tried the top tier to see if it was just a scam. It required him to download an application and then scan QR codes to view the live feeds, but it worked, and he had access to 15 live cameras in bedrooms and even dressing rooms of clothing stores.

Though the source doesn't specify a brand, we know that there have been incidents with major brands, including Wyze in the USA so this isn't completely isolated. The best way to avoid problems is not only to set up only the best indoor cameras, but to be sure you use strong passwords of your own choosing when setting them up.

You can also, of course, protect your home and be 100% sure about indoor privacy by simply choosing to stick to the best outdoor cameras! Sure, there are fines in the millions of VND (so $1,500 to 2,500) and even potential jail terms in Vietnam for those caught, but clearly that hasn't been effective here. Of course, there was a   case where hidden cameras may have saved a man from murder, so all arguments have two sides, but given the way the video is being sold clearly privacy is the key issue.

We'd also strongly suggest checking our guide to the best hidden camera detectors when visiting unfamiliar accommodation.

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook