Webcams are wonderful. They give us the opportunity to communicate with family and friends that we can’t meet physically or on the other side of the globe. Webcams are in laptops, stand-alone models, phones, security cameras, almost everywhere.
But how do you know if your webcam is secure? The danger is that hackers want to see your world and get access to your private world and they do this by hacking your computer webcam.
Hackers are getting craftier each day and one way they can penetrate your computer is through your webcam. It’s important that you employ all means to secure your webcam. This comprehensive guide will help prevent hackers from violating your privacy and rights through the control of your webcam. So don’t get hijacked and secure your webcam immediately with the advice written below.
Install Security Programs
First and foremost, do your homework. There are many sites that review webcams and select only from a list of webcams that have already high-security ratings because this means they are hard to hack into. Once you have a highly rated webcam, it’s time to install a security program.
Yes, security programs cost money but they really do a good job at preventing hackers from getting into your files and potentially hacking your identity and online accounts. Think about online banking and online shopping you do these days. Aren’t you willing to spend a few hundred dollars for peace of mind?
These security programs can help you determine whether attachments are safe to open. Some malicious attachments once clicked can create havoc on your computer and allow the hacker complete access to your computer including the webcam which means they can see your room or wherever you’re working. This can compromise your physical security. Always be careful of downloading material from the material or from any other source, e.g. Bluetooth or USB drives.
Malware are also ever present and keep evolving to many devastating states. So keep your security programs up to date so that they can deal with the evolving threats in the web.
Try to install one of the best anti-Malware software like Malwarebytes to ensure that malware cannot harm your computer. The most common way to hack your webcam is through malware.
Utilize Windows Firewall
A firewall basically is an extra safety net for your computer and webcam. This is particularly important for computers that connect to the internet or a local home network. Windows users are in luck, because the firewall is switched on by default.
Never switch it off because it monitors incoming and outgoing traffic in the network which can signal unauthorized attempts to access the network you are in. This is especially relevant now that the Internet of Things is now gaining ground. You can access the Windows Firewall in your Control Panel.
If you have an external webcam but are not using it, then always disconnect or unplug it. If the webcam is integrated with the laptop, you can simply put over it a piece of electrical tape. Even a simple post-it note can do wonders to prevent hacking through the webcam. In this way, if ever your webcam gets hacked, that’s all they can see, the post-it note or electrical tape. Even the FBI recommends this simple hack. Mark Zuckerberg uses this method, as well as many celebrities and industry professionals.
There are also webcam covers that are available online. These are specifically designed to protect you from unauthorized webcam access. Plus, they look trendier than ugly electrical tapes or post-its that could fall off easily.
If your webcam has a red light that blinks to let you know it’s operating, then be very wary of it when it’s red and you’re not actively using it. This means that your webcam has been compromised and the computer should be disconnected from the internet, and the webcam unplugged immediately. Then utilize security software like Norton and McAfee to perform a comprehensive check in your computer.
Utilize a virtual private network (VPN) because it gives you anonymity on the web and so you get online privacy and security. This reduces the risk of hacking tremendously unlike if you’re operating on a public network.
If you’re running a wireless network at home or at work, make sure the security settings are at its highest configuration and you use strong passwords to deter outsiders from accessing your Wi-Fi network. Make sure your password is not “password” or the default password that came along with your router.
Be wary of Email Phishing and Clickjacking
Be wary of email phishing. The hackers are getting craftier each day and online scams are getting more and more complex and harder to detect. Worse, clicking on these malicious emails can trigger a code that unleashes malware and hacks your webcam very quietly without you even noticing it.
Clickjacking is when hackers make the Flash permission prompt invisible. They then put this on sections that are likely to be clicked in the website, for example, a play button on the video. When you click on the play button, you’re thinking that you’re just watching a video but the truth is that you’ve given the flash app the permission to start taking photos of you through your webcam. The invasion of privacy or chance for catching private activity is a scary thought. A hacker can capture images of your daily lives or personal information and use it for their own gain. Worse yet, they can use it to blackmail you. So don’t go click-happy online. Be wary of the sites you visit and the links you go on to.
Be cautious of link shortening tools
One of the ways hackers spread webcam-related malware is through using links on websites and social media. They use link shortening tools like TinyURL and Bitly to mask the links that go to sites infected with malware. Be always wary of the site or person that gives shortened links. Malware can wreak havoc on your computer and your private life.
If you’re not using your webcam, you can uninstall your webcam’s drivers. This will make it impossible for your Windows operating to access your webcam, which adds yet another difficult workaround for would-be attackers.
Give selective access
In your computer settings, you can determine which apps or programs that will be able to access the webcam. You can even block all the apps from using it, especially when you’re not going to use the webcam. These smart settings can reduce hacks. When using your computer, you can just select one app at the time that can have access to your webcam to keep safe.
The internet is a wonderful place but at the same time, there are plenty of cyber threats that can disable your computer and hackers can create havoc on your personal life. The webcam is only a small part of the laptop but is very prone to hacking. It’s important not to overlook this and make sure you implement the tips discussed above to protect yourself.
Copmparitech – How to secure your webcam
Kaspersky – Hackers broadcast live footage from hacked webcams on YouTube