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Man caught spying on family via CCTV in UAE

Khaleej Times logo Khaleej Times 16/01/2019 Afkar Abdullah
Man caught spying on family via CCTV in UAE © Provided by Khaleej Times Man caught spying on family via CCTV in UAE

A 35-year-old man was arrested for hacking into a family's home security system and spying on them through CCTV cameras in Sharjah.

The digital investigation department of the Sharjah Police managed to track the Arab national who was found secretly watching the family's activities.

The parents had installed the cameras merely to ensure safety of their children while they were away, said Lt Col Abdull Aziz Al Jarwan, head of the digital investigation and organised crime department.

Also watch: How a company behind home security cameras may be spying on you

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The wife had asked her colleague, an Arab electronic engineer, to check and mend one of the cameras in their home which had suddenly stopped working. The engineer had fixed it, as requested.

After some time, the family began suspecting that someone was keeping a watch on them through the cameras and decided to lodge a complaint at the police station.

Upon filing a complaint, the Sharjah Police investigated the surveillance software and found that some of the cameras had been rerouted through a spyware application that allowed third-party access to their footage. The digital and cybercrime team managed to detect the location of the engineer who had tampered with the cameras months before. They immediately raided his place and nabbed him red-handed.

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During interrogation, the man said he managed to obtain the serial number of the CCTV and the password, which he used in the app that allowed him to monitor the movements of the family members while they were at home.

A search warrant was issued in his name, and teams found a large hard drive connected to his personal computer. Inside were photos and videos taken from the family's CCTV cameras.

The accused said he had exploited the knowledge of the password and security key for the cameras to hack and install the spyware. He claimed he committed such an act as a personal hobby of his.        

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Based on the confession of the accused, he was referred to the public prosecution in Sharjah.

A top Sharjah Police official warned families against trusting unknown companies or people who are not reliable enough to install or fix surveillance cameras used in their homes. He pointed out that a number of companies are approved and registered with the Sharjah Police to do such work.

The official also urged residents to stop operation of surveillance cameras in the bedrooms while family members or spouses are in the house.

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