Hackers sell sex clips from South Korean ‘smart home’ cameras on the dark web

In South Korea, hackers are selling videos of people naked and having sex in their homes on the dark web by accessing home security cameras and other "smart" devices.

The major security breach was first reported earlier this month by the IT Chosun website, which found the intimate images for sale on a hacker forum for 0.1 bitcoin (about $5,700) per video.

Many new apartments across South Korea are equipped with Internet-connected smart home features such as wall-panel security cameras, lights, connected refrigerators and washing machines.

A screenshot of an English-language hacking forum posted by IT Chosun shows a series of thumbnail preview images of people who appear to be inside an apartment, as well as a Protonmail contact address.

The forum post reads, "We hacked most of the apartments in Korea and the videos were extracted from the apartments' smart home devices. If you are interested, please contact …… using email"

According to IT Chosun, dozens of preview images uploaded by the hackers included nude photos of men and women, and even photos of the victims having sex.

When reporters contacted the hackers directly and asked if they had actually hacked "all the apartments in Korea," the hackers replied with a list of videos, saying "choose the apartment you want.

The list reportedly includes hundreds of apartment complexes across South Korea, including the capital Seoul and the popular resort of Jeju Island, suggesting that tens of thousands of South Koreans were unknowingly affected.

South Korean police have launched an investigation, and the government says it is reviewing cybersecurity laws and strengthening firewall guidelines for so-called "Internet of Things" devices.

"This incident has raised public concern because wallboard devices, rather than home computers or cell phones, were hacked and home privacy was widely violated." Kim Nam-seung, deputy director of cybersecurity at the Ministry of Science and Technology, told the South China Morning Post.

"It also stressed the importance of users avoiding easy-to-guess passwords, downloading regular security patch updates and using government-approved products with sturdy security."

South Korea said it would force construction companies to disconnect smart home systems in each apartment to prevent hackers from accessing devices throughout the building through a single vulnerability, which seems to have become a reality.

In the past, concerns have been raised about the vulnerability of smart homes, and in 2018, two computer science students hired by South Korea's Busan Daily newspaper managed to hack into the smart system of a newly built residential building to gain access to internal cameras.

The country has experienced similar digital crimes before. in 2019, police dismantled a spy ring that used hidden cameras to secretly film hundreds of guests in hotel rooms and charge people to watch live footage.

Earlier this year, a Human Rights Watch report said South Korea, the most connected country in the world, has spawned an epidemic of "digital sex crimes," in which men use miniature spy cameras to film women without their consent.

Heather Barr, author of the report, told The Times, "Digital sex crimes have become so pervasive and frightening in South Korea that they are affecting the quality of life of all women and girls."

"Women and girls tell us they avoid using public restrooms and are anxious about hidden cameras in public places and even in their homes. Survivors of an alarming number of digital sex crimes say they have considered suicide."

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