IT Army of Ukraine launches ‘cam bounty’ program to counter Russian intel gathering

The collective aims to block web cameras with public access which may be of help to Russian forces.


IT Army of Ukraine has announced a ‘cam bounty’ program, calling on hackers to report the IP addresses of web cameras with public access in Ukraine. The collective has warned that such cameras transmit information about the operation of air defence systems and the movement of military equipment, which can be of great help to Russian forces.

According to Twitter accounts specialising in open-source intelligence (OSINT), there are indications that Russian forces potentially utilised publicly accessible web cameras to gather intelligence on the Patriot Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system. This system was subsequently targeted by Moscow in Kyiv on the night of 16 May.

With Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and subsequent encroachment into eastern regions, Ukraine has found itself in a protracted conflict. As preparations for a much-anticipated counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces intensify, concealing troop movements has become paramount for Ukraine’s military.

It is worth noting that owners of cameras are often unaware of the potential nefarious uses of their devices. Numerous IP cameras exhibit lax security measures, rendering them easily accessible to hackers. Cybernews researchers have highlighted the concerning prevalence of such vulnerabilities, exemplified by instances where hackers managed to compromise the security of IP cameras, including those in a Tesla warehouse in California and an Alabama jail.