Restricting Information Leakage - Keeping Your Identity Secure

There are enough inherent risks in using the internet, this blog covers many of the challenges we all face in trying keep our surfing anonymous.  However it is sometimes amazing just how much data is just leaked to the internet largely unintentionally.

I started thinking about this post after a friend of mine asked me to look at his security cameras in his small shop.  These were IP based cameras and after briefly sorting out the problem I had a look at the remote admin function these cameras had built in.  Basically you could watch the video feed from them over the web in a simple web browser, you can even (with the admin password which was set at default anyway) control the cameras.  The owner had no idea they could do this and was quite shocked that anyone could see into his shop over the internet !

I want to show you some of the information leakage that takes place over the internet using some simple Google queries.  Some of this data is leaked intentionally but very often the company or individual has no idea they are allowing the world access to this information.

Photo and Images Dumps

If you're like me then you probably have several thousand digital pictures that you have never got round to printing out.  But of course with the high resolutions of todays cameras your SD cards are soon filling up so you have to dump them onto a computer.  Of course many times these are dumped in to home directories, file shares or computers that are connected (and accessible to the internet) so instantly people become publishing moguls.

Here's one simple Google Query to find these photo dumps, just type this into Google -
Which simply searches for the directory structure which many digital cameras create and are copied onto computers across the planet.  Here's the query and a snapshot of the results.

Try it yourself, you'll get thousand of web addresses which lead to simply dumps of digital photos from a variety of different cameras.  Some are probably intentional but if you browse through the pictures you can tell that many are definitely not.

Does this young chap from one of  the dumps realise that his photo has been released online possibly leading to identity theft or at the very least compromising the location of one of his nut stores!

Online Video Cameras 

These are all over the place now and there are hundreds of different makes and models most which allow some sort of internet connectivity.   Of course many of these are set up deliberately to allow people to view them online but when you start looking at these, many clearly are not intentionally left open.

Here's some queries - just type the highlighted phrase exactly into Google.

Toshiba Cameras - camera - user login"
Panasonic Cameras - inurl:"Viewerframe?Mode="
Sony Online Cameras - SNC-RZ30 Home

You'll find security cameras watching peoples homes, business, warehouses, offices and school corridors.  Of course many of them are watching public places and interesting sites so have been set up specifically to allow open access but it's clear that many haven't been.   Would you want the entire internet to be able to see if you've left your back door open or you're away for the night - nor would I!!!