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"There's very good reason to be scared:" Unsecure internet live streams being used to spy on homes, businesses

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thousands of live security cameras are streamed online for anyone to watch, and they could be used to spy on people.

"Someone can watch your camera, see when you come home, when you leave, gain access to everything," said Terry Gluff, a systems administrator with PC Lan Services. "There's very good reason to be scared."

Unsecured computer networks pose enough of a threat that Gluff makes a living safeguarding them as a network security expert.

"Most people don't realize they're vulnerable," Gluff said.

A simple internet search will turn up websites that gather these unsecured surveillance cameras into databases.

Many of them are public feeds like university webcams or traffic cameras, but there's one site in particular that takes it a step further.

On it, we found live surveillance of homes and private businesses, including in the Milwaukee area.

One of the available cameras that users can not only watch, but take control of, is on top of the Kenosha Public Museum.

We watched internet users zoom in on the apartment complex across the street, and jump from window to window, seemingly looking for people.

"It's pretty creepy to me," said Jesse Haack, who lives in the complex. "My wife would be totally upset about it."

"I understand having security cameras and I think they're a good idea and we can all respect that but when I'm home, that's a place that's very special to me and very private," said Nancy Bjork, who stays in the complex across from the museum.

There are ways to avoid ending up on the databases if you're setting up surveillance at home.

For starters, experts say many people aren't properly password-protected.

"Most default passwords to a system are 'admin-admin,'" Gluff said. "If you don't change that default password, you're just making it even easier for someone to breach you."

It's also recommended to keep up with software updates and not to skimp on the camera you buy because the security may not be as effective.

Gluff says the legality of the databases is somewhat of a gray area.

We reached out to the website's contact email but it wasn't a valid address. The site says on its home page that cameras will be removed upon complaint.

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