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Thousands of security webcams wide open
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 1/06/2005 10:19:00 AM.

Thousands of security webcams, many supposedly private and confidential, are accessible via a simple Google search.

Search engine expert Duncan Parry, creative director at search consultancy firm Position Driver, explained that all that is needed to access these webcams is a well-crafted Google search.

"Google has added these pages into its index of web pages. Presumably the search engine's crawler found them via links from other pages to the camera pages," he said. "Google is not at fault. The webmasters responsible for these pages should have placed them in a password protected directory and indicated to Google and the other search engines that the directory should not be spidered using a robots.txt file on its servers."

Forum site BoingBoing contains a thread warning about unsecured webcams which one member described as "very cool and very scary". BoingBoing reader 'Nick' added: "This is a Google search that gives 2,000 cams instead of just 800." The results can be seen by clicking on the link below.

Parry pointed out the simple fact that anything put on a web page is likely to be found by the search engines. "After all, finding new content is one of the ways Google, Yahoo and Microsoft compete with each other to provide the best search experience," he told vnunet.com. "So place anything you want to be private in a password protected directory and use a robots.txt file."

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