No one thinks about webcam hacking… Until they find a video of themselves being filmed online somewhere. For the most part, this is done in instances of blackmailing. Hackers will target specific people, filled them in compromising positions through their own webcam, and then extort them for money.
Need to learn how to prevent webcam hacking and also learn how hackers gain access to webcams? A complete digital security plan includes these steps. Take them so that you’ll never find yourself in a compromised position.
Prevent webcam hacking
How a hacker accesses your webcam
Webcams are a very convenient piece of technology. They are right there on your computer ready for you to turn on to have a video chat with someone. As is the case with all things, this convenience comes with a price. That price in the digital setting is that when something is convenient for you, it is also convenient for hackers.
There are two main ways that hackers can gain access to your webcam:
- Clickjacking: This manipulates Flash in a website. It hides permission to access your webcam behind another button. You then push that button, giving the browser access to your webcam without your knowledge. It can take pictures, or it can stream video.
- Webcam software: If you think that your products’ only job was to make it possible for your customers to privately share video, then these products would do that. However, this is not the case with many webcams. Most have vulnerabilities in their software that hackers know how to exploit. Logitech cameras are perhaps the most well-known example of this.
When other people get access to your webcam using either of these two methods, they can either use your shots as blackmail, or they can put those shots on dedicated web pages. Either way, your privacy is violated.
Prevent Webcam hacking
If trusted webcam manufacturers, like Logitech, can have their webcams hacked, it should be apparent that you need to personally take steps to make sure yours is secure. Let’s look at the steps you can take to prevent webcam hacking from the easiest to the most complex:
- Tape: Yes, you read this right. Simply placing a piece of tape over your webcam is the most simple and ham-fisted of ways to prevent webcam hacking. To be fair, this doesn’t prevent hacking so much—this only prevents access of hackers that look through your webcam. Your webcams could still be hacked and accessed anytime you took the tape off the camera.
- Updates: The bulk of software updates sent out by manufacturers are specifically addressing vulnerabilities. The software is already working when it was sent out, but hackers can still find exploits. The product’s developer then comes up with patches. For every time that you have complained about another update, think about how this update is most likely being put in place to protect you.
- Malware scans: Malware is another popular way for hackers to gain access to your computer and your webcam. Routinely doing a malware scan can catch programs that are on your computer for webcam hacking purposes.
- Firewalls: The entire point of a good computer firewall is to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. It can easily prevent webcam hacking as well. Click here to learn how to turn on your firewall for PC, and click here for your Mac webcam.
- Public Wi-Fi: People connect to public Wi-Fi in many scenarios. These scenarios can include hotel rooms. We all know what people can do up there in hotel rooms with their webcams. To prevent other people from hacking the Wi-Fi, you need a VPN which will encrypt all your communications. Simply connect to a VPN server before using a webcam via public Wi-Fi.
- Webcam virus software: These are simply tools which operate in the background of your computer and notify you when your webcam is turned on. Perhaps the most well-known tool was the one created by a former member of the NSA.
There are many ways that you can do to prevent webcam hacking. Start out with the easiest one at the top. Then work your way down to more complex ones, depending on your digital security needs.
Prevent webcam hacking today
For people (such as myself) who never actually use their webcam, it’s enough to just put a piece of tape over it. For someone who does a lot of video conferencing, Skype-ing with friends, or other webcam activities, a tape may not be enough. That is when you would want to try one of the other five more complicated ways of protecting your webcam.