UK's National Cyber Security Centre sidles in to help firm behind hacked NurseryCam product secure itself

Plus: User passwords were stored in plain text after all

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre is now helping IoT gadget firm FootfallCam Ltd secure product lines following the recent digital burglary of its nursery webcam operation.

Company director Melissa Kao confirmed to The Register that the NCSC, a sibling of UK spy agency GCHQ, was helping the company shore up security after its NurseryCam product was hacked last week.

"We are aware of this incident and working to fully understand its impact," an NCSC spokesman told The Register.

FootfallCam Ltd is the operator of the NurseryCam brand of web-connected camera services. As its name suggests, NurseryCam is a product deployed in daycare centres so parents can have a look at how junior is getting on.

The company needs NCSC's help: although we previously reported that users' passwords were hashed in storage, emails from the company shown to The Register by horrified parents confirmed that they were, in fact, being stored without any encryption at all.

"It was a design decision to store passwords in plaintext, which was used for image decryption. The same practice is also made in platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and GitHub," said an email from the firm, adding: "Moving forward, we will be changing to using hashed passwords to improve security measures."

The Register was contacted last week by a hacker who said he had obtained copies of usernames, passwords, users' forenames and surnames, and registered email addresses. On top of that, he also claimed to have accessed the rest of FootfallCam Ltd's web services – including those of its sister company, Meta Technologies.

The point of access was, we were told, a poorly secured Odoo business apps server instance that used a default admin password for its web interface, seemingly relying on security through obscurity.

He told The Register: "Though operating the admin panel requires a password, that password is the same as the default password documented on the main page of the admin panel."

IoT infosec researcher Andrew Tierney, who closely scrutinised the NurseryCam product, confirmed to The Register that the Odoo instance existed not long after we were tipped off about it, though it has since been made inaccessible.

Footfallcam first came to our attention earlier this month after a spat between Laurens Leemans of SignIPS, who analysed a sample of the firm's Footfallcam 3D Plus product, and the firm itself, which had threatened him with a police report unless he deleted tweets he'd made criticising the product's design.

The NCSC has yet to respond to The Register's request for additional comment. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022