Korean Cybersecurity Expert Sentenced to Prison for Hacking 400,000 Household Cameras

Korean Cybersecurity Expert Sentenced to Prison for Hacking 400,000 Household Cameras

Paige Henley Paige Henley
Published on: May 15, 2024

A Korean cybersecurity expert has been sentenced to four years in prison for illegally accessing and distributing private videos from “wallpad” cameras in 400,000 private households across South Korea. The man offered to sell video footage from a single day in someone’s home for 0.1 Bitcoin.

The 41-year-old man, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, exploited smart home devices used by residents to control their video security systems and other domestic functions.

The hacker remotely accessed 638 apartment complexes, hacking into the smart home devices of over 400,000 households. In November 2021, he posted on a hacking forum, boasting about hacking “most of the apartments in South Korea” and shared 45 photos and two videos stolen from apartment owners as proof.

As news of the data breach spread, a list of allegedly hacked apartments was widely circulated online. The hacker’s content included everyday activities and intimate sexual scenes, leading many residents to cover their wallpad cameras, even if their complexes were not confirmed to be affected.

To conceal his identity, the hacker used overseas servers to communicate with potential buyers of the private, sexually explicit material. South Korea’s national police agency arrested him at the end of 2022, seizing computer equipment that contained 213 videos and 400,000 photos illegally recorded through hacked wallpad cameras.

In addition to the prison sentence, the man has been ordered to complete a sexual crime prevention program. He is also prohibited from working in institutions related to children, youth, and the disabled for four years.

This case has heightened awareness of the security risks associated with smart home devices, prompting many to reassess the safety of their own household technologies.

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