How to Check if Your Webcam was Hacked
A picture of Mark Zuckerberg with his laptop in the background recently sparked a discussion about precautionary measures versus paranoia; Zuckerberg’s camera and microphone jack appeared to be taped in the picture, suggesting that not even a powerful leader of his stature is immune to common hacking schemes.
With the rise of the Internet of Things and increased internet connectivity, having your webcam hacked and any other camera-equipped device connected to the internet means your personal information is more vulnerable than ever. The dangers go beyond privacy breach –webcam hacking can carry out serious implications including using it for surveillance to learn your daily habits, making your home more susceptible to robbery.
How to tell if your webcam was hacked
Hackers use malware or RAT-remote administration tool to take control of a computer and its webcam. RATs are installed when a user opens an infected email, clicks a compromised link or installs a program infected with a Trojan. Hackers will then have access to the webcam along with any personal data on the computer, browsing activities, messages, and they’ll even be able to restart the computer.
A blinking LED light next to your camera can reveal if your webcam has been hacked. If you’re not using the camera and you see the light blinking, it could be a sign that malicious software is controling your webcam. However, it could also mean that a browser add-on is causing the light to blink. In any case, it’s better to to take precaution and run a full system scan with your antivirus software.
Take action – protect your webcam from being hacked
- Install antivirus software– look for a software that offers malware and spyware protection and make sure it’s always up to date. The right software will do most of the work of detecting malware as well as viruses.
- Turn on your firewall– computers connected to a home network should already be protected by a firewall that monitors network traffic and blocks unrequested incoming connections. Make sure your firewall is turned on– on a Windows operating system,click the Windows logo on the bottom left corner of the screen and search for a firewall to check the settings. On a Mac, go to system preferences, click on the sharing icon, choose firewall and click start.
- Secure your WiFi connection– WiFi can be a weak spot you may have overlooked. Always change the router’s default password and create a powerful and unique password to make it harder to decrypt.
- Think before you click– hackers lure people into downloading and installing RAT software using email attachments, pictures and links. Use caution before opening emails from people you don’t know,never open attachments from an unknown sender and don’t click a link within an email. Instead, hover over it to see the full URL in the lower corner of your browser– if the URLs don’t match, don’t click the link. Also use caution before clicking on shortened links on social media as they can be corrupted.
- Avoid tech support offers– hackers may contact you saying there are some problems with your computer. They will try and convince you to download a remote-access software that will allow them to fix those alleged problems. Do not trust anyone who contacts you offering this kind of support.
- Disable remote access– this is one more way to prevent hackers from gaining remote access to your computer. Disable both Windows Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop.
- Tape it – your best bet is a low tech solution. Tape your webcam or carefully stick a post it note over the lens to make sure hackers can’t watch you. If it’s good enough for Zuckerberg, it must work.
Hackers will continue to look for ways to put their hands on your personal information. However, you can make it more difficult to get your webcam hacked and better protect your privacy when you stay alert and take precautionary measures to minimize the risks.
Find out how to protect your online accounts as well
Do you also want to protect your online accounts from being compromised?
For Facebook – Check out our guide on “What To Do If Your Facebook Was Hacked“.
Got a Steam account? find out how to protect it on “What Should I Do If My Steam Account Was Hacked!“.
Protect your Instagram account – Get a full guide on “What Should I Do If My Instagram Account Was Hacked?“.
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