In the midst of the current global lockdown, many of us have been relying on webcams to stay connected to work and friends, but bad people can also be using that webcam to spy on you!
Yes, someone watching through a small laptop or personal computer camera may sound farfetched, but it is true that webcams can be used for spying.
Covering your webcam with a Post-It note or piece of tape is a solution but you need to get to the bottom of what is spying on you and address that. This article aims to show you how it can be done and how you can get to the bottom of why it is happening.
How Webcam Spying Works
But “how can someone access your webcam in the first place” you may be thinking? Typically it is done through malware infection. This malicious software allows them to remotely control your computer and view its webcam.
A cybercriminal might access your webcam using spy software or a remote access trojan (RAT). The software may have come from freeware, spam emails, infected attachments or dodgy websites.
The software allows the remote user to take control of your computer. They could view your online activity, read messages or capture screens and keystrokes, and since they have control of your computer they will be able to turn your webcam – without you knowing.
When a webcam is in use a light or LED near the camera will illuminate which indicates that it is in use. However, it is easy to miss and many people don’t understand what the light means. So if you se the light on when you are not using the camera be suspicious and get your computer checked out.
How To Stop Webcam Spying
Since we’re talking about malware here, just covering the camera is a flimsy solution. To properly help stop getting infected in the first place you need to not just rely on your security software (as it isn’t 100% foolproof) but think carefully about your overall IT security. This includes:
- Questioning the credibility of any programs (free or paid for) you download onto the computer.
- Do not trust attachments, even from reliable sources. If in doubt personally contact the person via phone.
- Implement external malware filtering of your incoming and outgoing email.
- Hover over external links to see where they go to before clicking.
- Install a good security or antivirus software.
- Put a good hardware firewall in place.
- Keep your applications and operating systems up to date by installing the latest updates and patches.
While we are talking about webcams, keep in mind your smartphone camera and any security cameras also need protection. On your phone, keep your passcode private and make sure antivirus and security patching is up to date. With a security system, do not directly connect it to the Internet and always change the default password.
Our IT experts can also increase security on your network by implementing a layered security approach including network protection (firewall), endpoint security and end user training If you need help please contact us.