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The Dangers of Webcam Hacking: How to Prevent It and Stop It

Posted October 9, 2018

Modern technology brings with it new threats to your privacy and security, and it’s important to learn what they are and how to prevent them. Webcam hacking and spying are on the rise and in the news all the time. The convenience of being able to monitor your house while you are away is also the perfect doorway for a hacker to come on in and spy on you and your family.

A webcam. Image credit: Aksa2011 via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

A webcam. Image credit: Aksa2011 via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

How Does it Work? Common Ways Hackers Get into Your Stuff

The route a hacker takes to get into your webcam begins with installing a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) on your computer. This type of software is used most often by tech support when you need help, and they temporarily take over your computer. If you download any freeware, install software (that you didn’t get from a trusted source) or click on links in email, these RATs can be installed without you even knowing it. Once installed, the hacker has complete control over your entire computer and anything connected to your network, including your webcams.

Not only that but now they can watch your online browsing and gain access to your private files installed on the computer, banking information and even passwords.

The vulnerability of installing malicious software applies to all your devices including phones, tablets, and computers.

What Technology Are Hackers Using?

Anything you download from the Internet or click on can include malware like the notorious Blackshades malware. Once it hits your computer and installs, it is challenging to remove, and your hacker will have instant access to everything.

Hackers are very talented, and sometimes they will send out phishing emails that look like legitimate emails from a company you already know. Once you click the link, their software installs on your machine, and you are infected. Now they have complete access.

What are the Signs of Webcam Hacking?

It used to be that if your little green light was on the webcam, you knew it was active. Now hackers have devised a way to turn that off so they can be watching you without you even knowing it.

However, there are other signs your webcam may be hacked such as strange changes on your computer that you did not initiate. If you notice programs open, things moving and files changed or accessed; it is time to have your system looked at and repaired. You should also run scans frequently and look for modified or new files or install of software that you did not put on there.

How Can You Prevent and Stop It?

The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” sure applies here. Preventing hacking is much easier than fixing the problem once it has occurred. If you take proper security precautions to protect your computers, phones, and network, you have a much better chance of avoiding webcam hacking and spying altogether.

The number one way people protect themselves against spies is to cover their webcam when they are not using it. This may not be possible for some devices.

Make sure you keep your computer antivirus and anti-malware software updated. Secure your network with strong passwords and the most advanced security protocols. Only link your devices to secure networks, never log onto open, insecure networks. Keep your operating system, browser and all plugins/apps updated too.

Never install any software, freeware or click on links that you do not know where they originated.

On mobile devices, keep strong passwords in place and secure antivirus installed and updated.

Written by Ben Hartwig

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