Video from a Lorain Co. business shows an outside party taking control of the company’s security camera and the camera's speaker, screaming obscenities and threatening violence against the business owner and his family.
The business owner, who asked to use only the name Joe, first noticed the problem early this month. Over the course of five days, he noticed the camera lens moving from its normal position.
On the fifth day, employees started hearing voices coming from the camera’s built-in speaker.
Joe recorded the incident on his cell phone. Two voices can be heard shouting through the speaker, spewing vulgar language, insults and threatening to commit violent crimes against the employees.
“They said they were going to rape the children, they said they were going to make me watch and they said when they were finished they were going to kill me,” Joe said.
The hackers knew his name, his employees’ names and the name of the business. When one of the employees called 911, a voice called out, “Go ahead, call the police. They don’t scare us.”
Law enforcement arrived on the scene within minutes of the call. Joe told News 5 that he contacted federal investigators, who gave him instructions on how to change his IP address. He said they are also reviewing the video.
Cleveland’s FBI office said that, according to policy, they could not confirm or deny possible investigations.
Joe’s camera was password protected, but TrustedSec Senior Security Consultant Paul Koblitz explained to News 5 that changing the default password is not a full-proof plan.
IP address vulnerabilities, port forwarding and unsecured wireless networks can also expose camera owners to unwanted watchers.
Joe said he’s speaking out about the terrifying incident because he wants other camera users to be aware of just how vulnerable their system can be.
“If it only takes two or three minutes to change your passwords, you should be doing it,” he said. “Because if you don’t do it, you never know who’s watching.”