Do you ever get the feeling that somebody’s watching you? You might well be right, because webcam spying is a common digital attack these days. A hacker can in theory have access to your webcam and make records of you going about your day, doing the victory dance, or who knows what else. How is that possible? Well, this mostly happens with old computers that have outdated programs, but it can also take place by clicking on pop-up ads, spam email links, or when downloading pirated content. It can even be achieved by just the average hacker without putting too much effort into it.
Smile… You’re on Hacked Camera
As if it was not enough just knowing that someone can watch you in real time without your consent, things can get worse than that even. Hackers might actually use these records of you for facial recognition to steal your identity, put compromising videos of you on the internet, or even demand a ransom in exchange for these videos.
And since it’s all done secretly, it’s crucial that you find ways of preventing yourself from becoming a victim. After all, no one wants to be recorded without their consent.
Tips to Avoid Webcam Hacking
In order to avoid being watched by an unscrupulous sort, take these precautions:
- Look for the indicator light: Almost all relatively new laptops have a light that turns on when the webcam is being used, just next to it. If you see that yours is on while not using the webcam, it generally means that something suspicious is going on, but the best assumption is that your PC is infected and that it is time to run a scan with your antivirus.
- Use antivirus software that has webcam protection included: Most of the paid versions of antivirus programs and a few of the free ones include defense for your webcam. Powerful antivirus software should not only provide antivirus protection, but also a firewall, antispyware, and other features to keep you away from unwarranted snooping. Get it, use it, run regular scans with it, and ensure your antivirus is permanently updated.
- Cover the camera: It is not exactly an academic solution, but it is a practical one that could sort out the problem. It is preferred by many personalities, including Facebook founder Zuckerberg and ex FBI director James Comey. It simply requires putting a piece of opaque tape over it or even covering it with a towel. For those who are more tech-minded, there are webcam covers available that do just this: cover it up.
- Do not open attachments: This is the way that RATs (remote administration tools) manage to get inside your device and gain control of the system, thereby giving access to its webcam.
If you want to maintain your privacy and ensure that no one else besides you has access to your webcam so that you won’t get caught while dusting the room in your newly bought lace PJs, these reasonable tips for webcam protection should help to keep you on the safe side. If not – say “Cheese!”