Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google Maps the cameras you're not supposed to see

Google Search can be used to unlock more than just text on web pages these days. You can search for MP3 files sitting in directories that have not been password protected, look for names assigned to image files and even specific words within PDF documents. A treasure trove of interesting finds that Google power searchers have unlocked recently are streaming close circuit cameras (CCTV) that are set up around the world. In most cases these IP cameras are situated on college campuses, parking lots or in hallways of buildings so business owners or security companies can monitor them remotely by logging on to them over the Internet and taking a look at what is happening. Like a poorly installed wireless network, not all steps are taken to secure the cameras, allowing the world to take a look. GooCam is a Google Maps mashup that pulls the results from the Google search that lets you find these cameras, geocodes the location of the camera and displays it on a Google Map so you know where the cameras are relative to their location. The result is a forbidden look at streaming world views by using a Google Map as the interface. Don't get too used to any of these cameras. In all likelihood as traffic statistics spike, administrators are sure to complete their jobs of locking down access to the camera to specific username and password. Until then... enjoy the view! :)

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