Target: Shodan founder John Matherly
Goal: Shut down dangerous website that lets users hack into unsecured webcams.
A website that allows users to hack into any unsecured webcam in the world was designed years ago by John Matherly and dubbed “Shodan.” He allegedly did it to try and prove to people that they need to start protecting any device that connects to the Internet with a password. But the website’s implications far outweigh the goals.
Shodan has been used to easily hack into places like French nuclear reactors, as well as traffic lights and surveillance cameras. The website does not hack into any webcams, but allows users to, often with no or minimal security. Shodan recently expanded its vision and has allowed users to hack into everyday devices–including baby monitors. There have been many reports of parents hearing someone talking to their baby through a hacked monitor, often with sexual messages.
Matherly has said that if Shodan were to be taken down, another similar site would come right up, and he is trying to use his platform for good. But this is not the right way to do so. Shodan is a dangerous and creepy website that is being used for extremely perverted and illegal activity, with little change from the people Matherly is trying to connect with. And on a bigger platform, it has more users than another site would. Let him know he should take down the website.
Dear Mr. Matherly,
We urge you to take down Shodan. The search engine has become a free-for-all for people looking to hack into things ranging from government security to baby monitors. It is extremely dangerous and often extremely perverted. It is doing more harm than it is good.
Even if the point you are trying to make is an important one, it is not being done in the right way. No parent should hear someone saying sexual things to their baby, and Shodan is openly providing the opportunity. Government secrets should not have to be exposed to prove a point about Internet security.
There are plenty of ways to get the message about passwords across, and Shodan is not among them. The site has proven to do more harm than good, and we want it to be taken down immediately. By announcing the website’s presence and function, you might be alerting a number of parents to secure their baby monitors, but you’re also alerting a large number of people who will use the site to watch children.
You are calling perverts and predators to arms with Shodan. We demand that the website be taken down immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Binatone Global