Webcam hack is a less popular hack compared to other forms of hacks. In the realm of computer science, they called it Camfecting. And since most laptops now come with a webcam, we are all vulnerable to camfecting. Theoretically, hacks on a webcam are done through the installation of a malware called RAT (Remote Access Trojan) on a victim’s computer.
On successful installation of RAT on a victim’s PC, the hacker can then remotely turn on the webcam of the victim.
What makes this hacking a big deal is that the hackers can take the pictures and the videos of victims, without their knowledge. Consequently, to secure your webcam from spies and hackers, I recommend you follow the tips below to secure your webcam.
Tips to Secure Your Webcam From Hacks
Always Enable Your Firewall
Firewall is one of the inbuilt immunity in Windows OS, and by default, it comes enabled. Most us of disabled it because some shady applications asked us to do so. However, if you ever want a secure privacy, your Firewall must always be on. When a PC firewall is on, it monitors all incoming and outgoing network tariff and blocks malwares. To check your Windows Firewall status:
- Go to Control Panel, then System and Security.
- Under Windows Firewall, click on Check firewall status.
- On the options available at the left-hand, beside the Windows Firewall, click on Turn Windows Firewall on or off. A green shield icon indicates Firewall is on, while a red shield indicates it’s off.
- NB: If you are using some powerful paid antiviruses like Norton, kaspersky and the likes, they would lock your Windows Firewall and take charge of the setting.
Don’t Open Unsolicited Attachment
In most cases hackers don’t have physical access to victims computer; their greatest weapon is email. So as I suggested in how to not be a victim of stolen password, never open anyhow attachments. When you receive an attachment you don’t trust, don’t open it; just trash it straightaway.
Scan Your PC for Malwares
Antiviruses are effective in dealing with viruses but with malwares, they tend to struggle. Well, that’s not their KPI! But since RAT is a malware, installing a good antimalware that augments your antivirus is a brilliant decision. I don’t know much antimalware, but I recommend Malwarebytes. It’s effective.
Shut Down & Close Your Laptop Lid When Not in Use
No matter how skilled a hacker is, his RAT wouldn’t work while a computer is shut down. If by magic it works, he wouldn’t see anything when the computer lid is closed. I don’t think RAT is powerful enough to open a laptop lid, power it on and also power on the webcam.
Be like Mark Zuckerberg
A picture of Mark’s personal workstation shows that he taped a black tape over his laptop’s webcam. Obviously he didn’t put it there for decoration. The black tape ensures the webcam isn’t seeing anything even if it is compromised.
One disadvantage of Mark’s style is that the gum of the tape may, overtime, smear over the webcam; therefore you may want to consider buying webcam blocker.
Watch out for The Blue LED light: Its a Red Flag
Common in most recent laptops, when the webcam is on, the LED light beside it shows blue light to indicate that the webcam is active. So if you aren’t Skyping or taking selfie on your laptop and this LED light flashes you, you should be wary and act fast. Someone might be remotely in charge of your webcam.
Bad news: hackers now hijack webcam without any indication from the LED light beside it.
Update Your Browser
Any outdated software, including browsers, is vulnerable to hacks. And no thanks to HTML5, most websites nowadays can detect and access devices on a computer, including microphone and webcam. In the hand of hackers, HTML5 is used to design malicious website that can infect computers. Updated antivirus, antimalware and browser would be powerful enough to secure you against such malicious website.
Even though hackers and spies are always thinking of new ways to be better bad guys, you can always secure your webcam by following the recommended tips in this post.