How hackers attack webcams

Most hackers utilize so-called Trojan horse attacks. You click on an attachment or download a piece of music or video infected with malware, and a hacker is able to remotely control your PC’s functions.Imagine the world getting to see what you are doing without you realizing this. There are many educated and experienced folks who overlook securing their webcam. The webcam which is otherwise a wonderful tool can become the source of a global embarrassment to you.

Your webcam can be a powerful tool for communicating with loved ones or even having a conversation with a world-famous luminary. But when that power is put into someone else’s hands, it can have dire consequences. A new exploit of Adobe’s Flash media application could potentially allow websites to access your webcam without your permission, opening the door for any number of unseemly people to peer into your world.

This article originally appeared on Tecca  Adobe Flash exploit allows websites to access your webcam without permission

While this example of an exploit seems to require you to actually visit a malicious site before it takes affect, it could be possible to access you webcam without doing so through hacking someone’s system, spyware which run scripts to access your webcam, or you downloading/installing malicious programs.

Fortunately, you can take steps to secure your webcam. Experts offer these do’s and don’ts:

  • Don’t click on suspicious attachments. You’ve heard it before, but too often we click without thinking. Email attachments remain a prime source for malware. Be wary of those supposedly funny emails forwarded by friends and family. You should also avoid suspicious sites offering free downloads of music, TV shows or videos.
  • Do use a firewall. “Firewalls provide a measure of protection against unwanted traffic,” explains Fox. Your computer comes with a firewall, but you need to make sure it’s turned on. If you use a Windows operating system, click on the Windows symbol in the lower-left corner of your screen, search for Windows Firewall, and you’ll be able to check the firewall settings. If you use a Mac OS, open System Preferences, click on the Sharing icon, select the Firewall tab and click Start.
  • Do use strong anti-virus software. Install a security suite that offers malware and spyware protection, then make sure you keep the protection up to date.
  • Don’t keep PCs with webcams in bedrooms. Limit webcam use to high-traffic areas, and remind family members not to do anything in front of a webcam they wouldn’t want the world to see.
  • Do secure your wireless connection. Make sure your wireless connection is protected with a unique password (not the default one that came with the router).
  • Don’t talk to strangers. Avoid IM conversations with people you don’t know, and advise your kids to do the same.
  • Do be cautious about accepting tech help. Would-be hackers have been known to ingratiate themselves with acquaintances by offering computer help. But that gives them the chance to rig webcams so they can spy on the computer user.
  • Do look for the indicator light. On external webcams, you’ll usually see a red light indicating the camera is on. Laptops with internal webcams usually have a blue LED indicator. If you use an external webcam, simply detach it from the USB port when it’s not in use.

You may think that your webcam even when hacked can only bore someone to death, but have you thought of situations like the one below?

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One comment on “How hackers attack webcams

  1. Pingback: :-) Smile! Hackers Can Silently Access Your Webcam Right Through The Browser (Again) | TECH in AMERICA (TiA)

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