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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An international hacking group gained access to around 150,000 live-feed security cameras developed by startup Verkada used inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools around the world, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The hackers were able to view and copy video from inside multiple health centers, schools, prisons and companies, including carmaker Tesla and software provider Cloudflare.

What they're saying: “We have disabled all internal administrator accounts to prevent any unauthorized access,” a Verkada representative said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.

  • “Our internal security team and external security firm are investigating the scale and scope of this potential issue.”

Context: The group carried out the breach to show the pervasiveness of surveillance and how security systems can be taken advantage of, according to Tillie Kottmann, one of the hackers who claimed credit for the attack, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: The exposed footage reviewed by Bloomberg included hospital staffers tackling and pinning a man to a bed in Halifax Health Medical Center in Florida and officers in a police station in Stoughton, Massachusetts, questioning a handcuffed person.

  • Another video showed workers on an assembly line inside a Tesla warehouse in Shanghai, China.
  • A member of the hacking group told Bloomberg it also gained access to the security cameras in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama.

How it works: The group breached Verkada by finding a user name and password for a company administrator account that had been exposed on the internet.

  • The hackers then used that account to view the cameras of all of Verkada's customers, according to Bloomberg.

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.