CCTV Hacking, Part 2

In our last post we discussed watching other people’s Axis network cameras using Google’s inurl: command. In this post we shall have a look at how to control them.

I now know that the inurl:axis-cgi search isn’t new. In fact, it’s just one of a wedge of Google searches that bring up plenty of cams – try inurl:view/index.shtml, inurl:liveapplet, and inurl:multiplecameramode for more stuff. The view/index.shtml ones are Axis cams with a more user-friendly html front page. Some of those offer nice little control bars for the event that you might want to steer the camera.

If that’s not so, though, a lot of Axis cameras can be remotely steered using CGI commands in the URL. What you need to do is find out if the camera you’re looking through has a file called ptz.cgi on the server – ptz as in pan, tilt and zoom. So, open another browser window or tab, paste the URL of the camera into it, and delete everything after /axis-cgi/. Now type com/ptz.cgi?camera=1, where 1 is the number of the camera you’re looking at. If there isn’t one, or only one camera, just use 1. Hit enter. If a blank web page loads, without requesting a password, you’re in. If there is a 404 error, the camera isn’t of the type that does CGI commands.

Now, you need the commands themselves. Unsurprisingly enough, rpan pans the camera from left to right, rtilt tilts it up and down, rfocus refocuses it, rzoom zooms in or out, and riris sets the iris to suit the light. The r-commands are relative to the camera’s current position..there are also absolute commands, but frankly, who cares? Let’s keep it simple. The values in them are numbers in three or four figures, so a command looks like this:

This pans camera 1 1000 units left. The opposite movement is achieved by placing a minus sign before the value. Once you’ve formulated your command, hit enter, then refresh the window or tab that’s showing the camera output to see results.

Good hunting.


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