Exploiting Network Surveillance Cameras Like a Hollywood Hacker: Optional Course Viewing

This video is supplemental material for our course. Viewing it is optional.

In most of our courses, we talk about social media, the Internet, smart devices, iPads, and ISTE standards. Security and privacy do come up, but they are often relegated to the back: learning how to get things done, use tech to support teaching, or understanding the software seems more important. But are they that much more important?

We are surrounded with technology, and we have cameras all around us. Mobile devices, banks, ATMs, little shops, and WOU all have their own video surveillance systems. Most of these are meant to support safety and order. Surely the people who operate and install these cameras as well as the manufacturers ensure that these are secure? Unfortunately, we have no such guarantee.

As the presenter demonstrates, multiple camera manufacturers have software weaknesses built into the firmware--the software that operates in the device. And these can easily be hacked.

Why should you care? As an educator, these kind of weaknesses could give unethical parties access to you or your school's surveillance cameras. This might result in abuse of materials, exposing children to unnecessary threat or risk, and significant invasions of privacy.

While it is easy to either rest in comfort or slight paranoia knowing that there are cameras all around, I find it truly unsettling that these surveillance assets are so easily hacked and available to anyone with that skill set.

OPSEC Spy Failures: Optional Course Viewing

This video is supplemental material for our course. It is not required.

This is an incredible video. A mainstream journalist who works for NBC describes how the metadata from cell phones helped expose a CIA rendition. Keep in mind, these were experienced and veteran field agents who were tracked and identified because of sloppy practices.

As an educator and a citizen, it is important that you understand just how much information your phone's metadata represents. As this video demonstrates, the metadata from your phone can be more important and powerful than the content of your conversation.

While we further and proactively work to integrate more and more technology into our schools and students' lives, it is vital that we grasp just how much surveillance we are enabling. And as this story ironically demonstrates, even the professionals can be tracked down by the sheer power and amount of information their mobile devices carry.