Warning: Cover Up Your Webcam When Not in Use

The BBC has uncovered an entire industry centering on the buying and selling of access to compromised webcams, especially those owned by women.

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Childnet International, a non-profit working to keep kids safe on the Internet, has issued a stern warning to computer owners today: Hackers can take over webcams without your knowledge, so keep them covered up when not in use.

Once your computer is infected by a Trojan virus – often acquired by visiting the wrong website or by opening malicious email attachments – criminals can control your webcam without your knowledge. These types of hackings are rapidly becoming big business: The BBC has uncovered an entire industry centering on the buying and selling of access to compromised webcams, especially those owned by women.

Ultimately, your best protection against such a hacking is to make sure your computer is running up to date anti-virus software. But there are other computer safety precautions you can take as well. “Pointing your webcam at a wall or covering it up can be good practice,” explains Childnet Chief Executive Will Gardner. He also recommends shutting laptop lids when they’re not in use, as cameras are often found immediately above laptop screens.

Independent computer security experts are urging people not to panic over the report, but otherwise confirm that there’s no harm in a little bit of added security to protect your privacy. “The idea of sticking a piece of paper over your webcam is reasonably common among the more paranoid members of the hacker community,” said Josh White, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, to the BBC. “But it’s not necessarily paranoid. It’s useful to be aware.”

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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19 comments
Int0Sec
Int0Sec

Hi,


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james65807
james65807

just noticed that my facevsion webcam has a shutter open/close function on the side of it. THanx

jsmith01284
jsmith01284

A piece of scotch tape works well. It makes it too blurry and comes off easy without residue. physically disconnecting the mic wires and using external mics works for sound. they can still see what you type..

jsmith01284
jsmith01284

what about smart phones ? it is not uncommon to have spare in those too. keep inn mind that all viruses need to be discovered for your antivirus to work. some have heuristics, but even that can be avoided. once in, they have complete control. I warned girls of this years ago. some nerd is fapping to your nude pictures right now and passing them to his buddies. the guys at the nsa might be doing the same...

mohdhm
mohdhm

hahahahhahahahah look at you morons in the comments section. You did not know that you can hack into a webcam? this was possible during the 1990's or even 1980's, and only now did you realize it?

Mind_to_Mind
Mind_to_Mind

What about .............smart H D televisions ?........Can they be hacked also ? !      ( accurate answers requested please ) Thanks !

RunningWriting
RunningWriting

Just put a piece of a Post-It note over the lens when not in use.

jjdoe889
jjdoe889

It seems a simple solution would be a built-in sliding cover for the camera. Bright orange. Let's see them hack THAT!

Also, many businesses have access to everything on the computers and tablets they give you - including the camera and mic. TRUST US, they say...

RonnieColeman
RonnieColeman

LOL. PEOPLE USE WEBCAMS AND MICS?  It's 2013, and people still think they are secure in their own homes? Do not EVER use a mic or a webcam when using the computer.

NativeSonKY
NativeSonKY

I only plug in my USB Logitech webcam when I am going to use it; it has surround sound microphones also so I don't have to worry about being listened to once I unplug it.

timetechland
timetechland

on Logitech Webcams, where you can turn off the LED in the registry keys.

ecnepsnai
ecnepsnai

These types of viruses have been around for a very long time, rather than living in fear of your computer understand how these viruses work and teach your children how to stay safe.

Webcams have a built in status light that turns on when the camera is active, this is a hard-wired connection that can't be overridden by software on the computer.

CamiloErazo
CamiloErazo

I dont get this...the lenses´d inmidiately give you the sign of a hack.

mylilelar1
mylilelar1

That's why a webcam one has to PLUG into the USB port rules.

I know when it is plugged and not...unlike the nefarious little dot above above my other laptops that is the webcam.

JacquesLaBranche
JacquesLaBranche

Trust in these tech companies is 100% gone for good. If the hackers have this technology, then after all the news of the last week we all know for sure who else has this technology to hack the cameras on every phone and computer.

jsmith01284
jsmith01284

if it is connected to the internet and runs an operating system, e.I. windows, ios, Android,etc, it can be hacked. I have not heard of it, but it would be possible if a vulnerability exists.

jsmith01284
jsmith01284

stop complaining. stand up for your rights! organize, litigate, create real change!