‘Netflix and chill’ for cyber crooks

Millions of people have signed up for Netflix during the coronavirus crisis.

But cyber criminals have created their own video services on the small screen.

It’s like ‘Netflix’ for crooks — and the stars of these shows are you and your money.

Watch here:

Reality TV

You can see the ripple of the water in the hot tub at a complex in Florida through the unprotected security camera.

No skinny dippers yet?

Click over to a changing room at a fitness center, a hacked adult site live cam, or even the operating room of a hospital.

These are some of the many insecure or hacked cams providing a steady feed of video entertainment for those who want to peep in on people’s lives.

Cyber criminals are harvesting your cameras, dividing them into different categories and offering them up for sale.

“When they take over a web cam, what they do is they preserve the access,” said Dave Sancho with cybersecurity company Trend Micro.

Sancho and his team studied this trend in login theater, and Sancho presented their findings at the RSA cybersecurity conference in San Francisco at the end of February.

“They sell it Netflix-style,” he said. “They sell access to those images. And they sell it as a package, a thematic package.”


A seller offers up specialty cams for a fee online. Image: Trend Micro.

Sleeper Hits

Among the most-watched of these streaming services — the bedroom channels.

Customers might get access to, say, a hundred bedroom cams for a fee.

You might not know you’re the celebrity on their stage.

“For whatever reason, there’s a lot of people who have webcams pointed at their bedrooms. And at some point, there’s going to be something interesting happening in there,” Sancho told Archer News.

Box Office Smash

Another highly-rated pick — the warehouse channels.

What’s so exciting about watching boxes go by?

“You can see also the security,” Sancho explained. “Is it being looked at? How often? Who is looking at it? So, then you can see gaps in security. You monitor who’s coming and going and, at some point, you can get in and rob.”

Credit Scenes

Also popular — store channels.

Counter cam shows are hot.

“Someone pays with a card and then criminal can look and get the credit card number and get the PIN code, etc.,” Sancho said. “Those are being sold also as a special channel.”

Subscribing is inexpensive, maybe a few dollars for a channel or package.

And if crooks are too busy scamming other people to ‘Netflix and chill’ they can even pay someone to watch for them and jot down those credit card numbers.

An insecure camera shows the counter of a business in England.

Real-Life Drama

There are many more channels for crooks who want to ‘Netflix and cheat’, though cameras may have fluctuating attendance during the pandemic.

Subscribe to dressing rooms at swimming pools, saunas and fitness centers.

Or salons, spas, massage parlors and operating rooms in hospitals.

Some crooks are not just binge-watching you naked or vulnerable, but also recording video for blackmail.

Sancho’s team has seen exposed cams in offices, meeting rooms, government buildings and crisis management centers — good for spying, stealing money or causing chaos.


An insecure camera shows an office in Florida.

Edit Yourself Out

How can you keep yourself out of the Netflix for crooks limelight?

“They go for the low-hanging fruit,” Sancho said.

That means cameras where no one has changed the password that came on the device, like:

Username: Admin

Password: Admin

Don’t give them a free ticket to your camera. Change that default password.

“If you change the password, you don’t leave it ‘admin’, ‘admin’, that’s really a good step in a good direction,” he advised.


If you change your camera password to something easy for attackers to guess, like ‘12345’ or ‘camera’, you won’t get much traction.

Try a long password — experts recommend at least 15 characters — and store it in a password manager so you don’t have to remember it.

Take steps to make sure your home router is more secure, so attackers can’t get in through gaps.

For example, you can disable features you are not using, like WPS, UPnP and Remote Management, that can allow outsiders to get in without your knowledge.

Plus, keep your router updated.

For more help, see “The top 4 things you need to do with your home router.”


Main image: Netflix on laptop screen. Image: Wutwhanfoto/iStock

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