August 10

Webcam Hacking 101, is Your Webcam Watching You?



Webcam hacking has become a major threat to anyone who has cameras in their home connected to the internet. The world is a dangerous place, and crooks and scammers are always on the lookout for ways to make a quick buck at our expense. We shred documents, safeguard PIN numbers and install alarms on our cars and homes. On top of that, I recently found out I have another thing to watch out for, webcam safety. If I’m not careful, my family and I could end up unknowingly starring in our very own reality show. Now that’s creepy.

Notorious Cases of Webcam Hacking

A Russian website was discovered streaming live action video from thousands of private webcams, CCTV systems and even baby monitors from around the world. After their actions had been widely reported, the site was shut down. But who knows how many other sites are out there in cyberspace just like it?

Did you hear about Miss Teen U.S.A.? One of her classmates hijacked her computer’s  webcam and used it to spy on her. He then attempted to use the pictures to sextort her. Read about it here.

Or how about the suburban Philadelphia school district that was caught remotely activating the cameras in school-provided laptops to spy on students in their homes.

How to Guard Against Web Camera Spieswebcam

What can you do to protect yourself and your family from webcam hacking criminals? In a way, the Russian website actually gives us one of our best defenses. They claim to be doing us a service by calling attention to the fact that a lot of people never change the default password on their routers and webcams. Although I think people using the Russian site are peeping Toms, the site is right about default passwords. They are easily looked up online and once known, Viola! You’re on candid camera.

To guard your webcam and other web attached gear from hackers, the first thing you should do is protect all web-connected devices with a strong password. Make double sure you change your router’s default password. You can find out how to do this with the instructions that came with the router. If your router or gateway was provided by your internet service provider (ISP) contact them on how to change the default password

Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson tells people to take the following steps to prevent your webcam from being taken over.

“Use a solid anti-malware program, keep your operating system updated, and make sure plugins (especially Flash and Java) aren’t out of date. Don’t visit dodgy forums or buy dodgy items, don’t click dodgy attachments in e-mail, and don’t download dodgy torrents. Such steps won’t stop every attack, but they will foil many casual users looking to add a few more slaves to their collections.”

When he says slaves, he is talking about computers and webcams that have been hacked and are under control by the hacker. Read the entire article here. How women can stop webcam hacker creeps from watching you. Also keep your computer protected with a good AntiVirus and keep it up to date.

One Last Foolproof Way to Stop Webcam JackersGangster in sunglasses and Fedora

Lastly, there is a great low-tech way to prevent yourself from being an unwitting star of your own, not very private show. Cover up the camera on your computer. That’s right, simply cover it up. You can use a sticky note or if you want to be extra careful you can buy webcam covers made specifically for that purpose. Webcam covers are a good idea because you have to be careful that the cover is thick enough so that a spy can’t see through it.

Hopefully, you can use this news to help you secure your web-connected devices. Let me know if you found this information useful. God be with you until we meet again.


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