Crimes in Telegram: The secret market for child pornography
Sale of illegal content made possible thanks to Hikvision’s weak protection
A report from IPVM, an independent physical security technology association, found that in Telegram selling information from hundreds of hacked cameras Hikvisioncontaining elements of sexual abuse of children. The report says the hackers most likely gained access to Hikvision’s unsecured cameras by exploiting weak or known passwords and then used the company’s mobile app to distribute access to the video streams.
IPVM found posts on Telegram channels that advertised access to hacked cameras using terms like “cp” (child pornography), “children’s room”, “family room” and “young girl’s bedroom” to attract potential buyers. Telegram has since removed those channels, some of which had thousands of members.
Telegram has long been criticized for poor content moderation. In 2021, a non-profit called Coalition for a Safer Web sued Apple and demanded that Telegram be removed from its App Store, pointing out the app’s inability to remove violent and extremist content.
Hikvision’s response has been hostile. “Hikvision has no knowledge of these possible crimes,” the company said in a statement. “IPVM’s selfish decision to contact us for comment before notifying the authorities is highly dubious and, in this case, undignified.”
IPVM denies this allegation and states that it immediately contacted the FBI upon discovering the crimes.