The real dangers of webcam hacking – and what to look out for
In the world that we live in today, it can be a huge challenge to separate our use of technology and our comfort with it’s purpose in our everyday lives. For example, head back twenty years – can you imagine telling everyone that one of our primary forms of communication would be via a mobile video camera?
It seems unfathomable to think, but the once rare webcam is now one of the most commonly used objects in computing. From video conference calls at work to speaking with family members living on other continents, we can use webcams for so many purposes. Yet despite their incredible benefits and wide-reaching solutions, webcams can be easily hacked and taken over. And this could put your privacy, security, and peace of mind at risk. Spycams can come from any piece of hardware we use. The webcam attached to your PC or your laptop. The camera in your phone. The home surveillance system that you just had installed. All of them can have the chance to put you at some kind of personal and/or professional risk.
In IT parlance, the most commonly used technique for invading privacy is known as Remote Access Trojan or RAT. Quite a fitting name, wouldn’t you agree?
Various malware systems today use this form of access. It’s just like when an IT expert logs into your computer remotely to fix a problem – though instead of solving a problem, they create one.
How can I let someone get access to my webcam?
It’s much the same as someone getting access to your Amazon account or logging into your Skype account on your behalf. It often happens innocently. Whether you’ve downloaded some useful software that was too good to be true or you’ve opened an infected attachment in an e-mail, you have many ways to infect yourself and take risks. Even visiting a cloned version of a safe website could lead to such malware infection.
It can even happen when installing legitimate and safe software, all without your knowledge. Once the software is on your PC, the stalker has the chance to view your every move, click, and even capture your keystrokes. This means that your PC – including your passwords and even those cameras – could be open to being abused and used by someone outside of your home. They can even make it look as if your camera is not being used, creating the total illusion of privacy.
That’s a big problem, and it does make us naturally quite wary. The fear of being invaded and having someone watching you on your camera is a daunting, worrying thing to consider. Add in the fact that it can happen through no fault of your own, too, and it’s easy to see why quite a lot of people begin to worry about such a prospect.
Widespread use of webcams for malicious purposes – it’s more common than you think
The problem is that many people think this is a small issue, one that isn’t happening all across the globe. If only that were the case. Go to YouTube, and you can find constant reems of videos showing you how RATs can be used – it’s a massive industry. Secret rental software is included in many normal ways of life, too. From schools watching student’s online activity to PC rental companies recording your every click – there are many ‘legitimate’ bodies and groups who use these kinds of activities.
It’s not just your ex-partner with a major axe to grind with you, trust us. Even things like fingerprint locking is nowhere near as secure or as safe as someone might assume. Even when the screen is turned off, more professional hackers can find ways to watch your every move. And do you know what one of the biggest reasons for someone being targeted is? A lack of security on their surveillance systems.
Many people never change the basic must-change password that is provided with their hardware when they make a purchase. Any kind of internet connected camera system – including most modern CCTV systems – can easily be accessed if you do not take systems security very seriously. Without much work at all, a cyber criminal can work out where you are most vulnerable and then take action. So, what can you do if you wish to try and minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such an activity?
It’s time to take precautions – simple tips to protect your webcam privacy
- First off, make sure that you take the time to always secure your passwords. Make sure that all security systems that you run with are secured in a way that is extremely safe – this means unique passwords for everything.
- Make sure you have your most powerful and up-to-date security systems in place. Strengthen security with a professional antivirus system, update your operating systems security systems to their most secure, and make sure your firewall is running at all times.
- Most importantly, never use your webcam or any camera device on an unsecured internet connection. This means no public Wi-Fi usage, for example. If you need to use an unsecured network like at a coffee shop or at the airport, look to use a solid and secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as FAST LANE SECURE-VPN to encrypt and secure your connection.
- Avoid clicking on any e-mails or messages that seem otherwise dodgy. Any suspicious links or attachments that are sent to you should be treated with the suspicion that they deserve. Only open up attachments and the like from sources that you trust and can prove.
- Last but not least, take a physical hardware approach to protecting your privacy. Cover up your webcam, with a WEB CAM COVER from FAST LANE SECURE.
When not in use keep the cover shut when you need to make that important business video call or to connect with family and friends open the shutter. You control who sees what and when with the swipe of a finger.
Take the five precautions above to prevent yourself becoming a victim of a visual-based cybercrime.
Also check out Mic-Safe™ from FAST LANE SECURE, a simple plug in audio blocker which prevents eaves dropping and audio hacking.