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Newer webcams safe, maker says

Updated: 2016-10-27 08:11
By Fan Feifei in Beijing and Shi Xiaofeng in Hangzhou (China Daily)

A Chinese electronics company whose devices were linked to a massive cyberattack on Friday in the United States has assured the public that there is a low possibility of similar cases using its upgraded gadgets elsewhere in its market.

Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co, a video surveillance manufacturer, is recalling four kinds of webcams sold in the US after a widespread cyberattack blocked access to websites in the US, including Twitter and PayPal, last week.

Around 10,000 of the company's webcams will be recalled, according to media reports.

Unidentified hackers seized control of gadgets, including Xiongmai's webcams, and directed them to launch an attack that temporarily brought down the websites.

Liu Yuexin, Xiongmai's marketing director, said the company entered the US market very early, and the recalled webcams were manufactured before April last year with easy-to-guess default passwords.

The company had noticed the vulnerability of the older version and fixed the problems for the newer webcams. Users of the updated webcams have been required to change the default password.

The main cause for Friday's attack was that users had not changed the webcams' default passwords, making them easy to hack, according to the company.

While the company's surveillance cameras exported to the US market account for 10 percent of its total output, most of the others exported worldwide were made after April last year. These had been fixed and no longer constitute a danger, and the risk of being attacked by hackers is very low, Liu added.

Security experts said a rising number of cybersecurity risks involve interconnected hardware devices, including home gadgets, appliances and automobiles.

Zhang Tianqi, an expert with Tophant Security Co, an internet security solutions provider, said, "Intelligent-device manufacturers should pay attention to the security problem of their products apart from their functionality, and related authorities should enhance supervision of the devices' safety."

Li Tiejun, of security software maker Cheetah Mobile, said, "The devices of the internet of things have some defects in the aspect of security, which could easily be found and controlled by hackers."

He added that if a user installs a webcam at home and uses a mobile phone and computer to operate the camera, there is a possibility that the camera can be controlled by hackers.


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