A group of hackers viewed live and archived surveillance footage from hundreds of businesses including Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report and Cloudflare (NET) - Get Cloudflare Inc Class A Report by gaining administrative access to Silicon Valley startup Verkada, according to reports.
Swiss software developer Tillie Kottmann, who has gained attention for finding security flaws in mobile apps and other systems, showed Reuters recordings from inside a Tesla factory in China and showroom in California.
The group gained access to live feeds of 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools, according to Bloomberg, which was the first to report the breach.
Kottmann declined to identify other members of the group.
Bloomberg disclosed how one video from inside a Tesla warehouse in Shanghai showed workers on an assembly line. The hackers said they obtained access to 222 cameras in Tesla factories and warehouses.
Kottmann told Bloomberg the data breach was intended to show the pervasiveness of video surveillance and the ease with which systems could be broken into. Kottmann previously claimed credit for hacking chip giant Intel and carmaker Nissan.
Kottmann told Bloomberg the group's reasons for hacking are “lots of curiosity, fighting for freedom of information and against intellectual property, a huge dose of anti-capitalism, a hint of anarchism - and it’s also just too much fun not to do it.”
In a statement, Verkada said it "disabled all internal administrator accounts to prevent any unauthorized access. Our internal security team and external security firm are investigating the scale and scope of this issue, and we have notified law enforcement."
In addition to Tesla and Cloudflare, the hacker group gained access to Verkada cameras inside Halifax Health, a Florida hospital; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; Madison County Jail in Huntsville, Alabama; and Wadley Regional Medical Center, a Texarkana, Texas, hospital. Hackers also were able to view video from inside the offices of Verkada itself, Bloomberg reported.