These tough times have brought our offices into our homes, and we have been interacting with our colleagues online. Thus, this change made webcams an inseparable part of our lives.
While the pandemic has raised the chances of webcams being hacked as they are used more frequently now, the phenomenon isn’t a new one. However, it has brought home a specific risk: the risk of the camera being taken over by a perpetrator spying on us. This threat has existed for ages, and the trend to cover up webcams has never been stronger.
How do you know when your webcam has been hacked?
Here are certain things you need to watch out for, certain symptoms that tell you that your webcam has been hacked into.
- The webcam light shines. The indicator light on a webcam switches on when using the camera and stays off when you aren’t using it. It is what is supposed to happen under normal circumstances. If you notice the indicator light turned on even when you aren’t using the camera, you have reasons to worry. It’s either an issue with the software or a webcam hack. Follow a process of elimination when you’re looking for reasons. If you find that the camera light starts shining randomly, please try to find the cause.
- Webcam video files. If hackers start recording videos with your webcam after taking control of it, there’s every chance of the recordings being saved on your computer. The hacker only takes advantage of your ignorance and callousness as you, like most users, ignore the system files when you aren’t using them. The best practice is to regularly check for video files in your documents, video, or webcam folders. If you see any video content, you haven’t made it yourself. It’s a clear and blunt indication that your webcam has been hacked.
- A hacker’s message. The hacker sends you a message in your inbox saying that your webcam has been hacked. It is a more direct indication that your device might be compromised. However, please note that the message may be deceptive webcam blackmail, trying to make you pay. Please note that such emails can be a part of a massive campaign, meaning that thousands of perfectly safe users receive these messages.
Tips for webcam security
To avoid falling victim to a webcam attack by a hacker, here are certain handy tips from us that you should follow.
- Don’t ignore software updates. ZDNet has reported that one in three data breaches are caused by unresolved software vulnerabilities. Thus, it’s the unpatched software that hackers take advantage of to break into your webcam. The easiest way to counter this is to keep your software up to date. The webcam manufacturer keeps making updates to the software regularly to add new features or remove weaknesses. While this happens automatically in most cases, if you have opted for manual updates, you should be alert to software update notifications and take necessary action upon receiving them.
- Cover your camera. It is the most basic form of taking precautions against hackers looking to break into your webcam. However, it is also one of the most effective ways to do it. Cover your camera when you aren’t using it and if you use an external camera, keep it disconnected when not in use. This way, even if a hacker manages to take control of your camera, he won’t be able to make any recordings with it if you keep the lens covered when not using the camera yourself. Keeping the camera covered ensures that it can be used only when you are using it yourself.
- Use advanced antivirus. An advanced antivirus tool with its host of features protects your system from malware attacks. It’ll carry out a deep scan of your computer for any hidden threats and remove all malware. Hackers use malware, trojan, and other viruses to breach your security and gain access to what is yours, including the camera. A good anti-virus protects you from all of this and raises your privacy and security.
A recommended precaution is to also avoid entering potentially dangerous websites or downloading malicious software.
Another way for hackers to spy on you is by looking at your digital identity and your actions. For instance, data you enter on an HTTP website travels unencrypted. Thus, random eavesdroppers could capture the data you exchange. In order to protect your data, you can get a VPN for PC. It will deal with encryption, meaning that data will be scrambled even on HTTP websites.
Hackers gaining access to your camera is a dangerous thing to happen. Your private moments may be captured leaving you vulnerable to blackmail. You should therefore take all possible precautions. Being cautious and alert to signs of the camera having been hacked is important. Our tips come in handy when it comes to shoring up your defense against hackers breaking into your camera. Protect your webcam for a safer life.