Hacking web cam becomes no big deal now-a-days. Even script kiddies can easily do it if they have some software (I don’t want to mention them here). If you are still thinking hacking webcams is possible only on Hacking-based Movies, then you should smell the coffee now.
Afraid Your Web Cam Is Hacked? Then Check These 10+ Tips To Protect Your Webcam From Being Hacked
And don’t forget to install Antivirus software on your System, if you think they are expensive, you can check the Top 10 Best Free Antivirus Software For Your System.
Many people still don’t believe that their web cams can be hacked. It is possible to hack or take control of your web cam without the hacker having personal contact with the system. Actually Hackers can even reach your place by that.
So why the hell should they hack my web cam?
Some people do it just for fun. They don’t have any intention for doing all these things except for fun. And some people do it intentionally. They are often described as Black Hat Hackers. They are indecently called as Cyber Criminals. They do this for obtaining personal information or photos of the victim. Some people use this for peeping purposes. They afterwards use this for blackmailing the victim.
So how to know whether my web cam is hacked or not?
All webcams have at least a small light that comes ON when they are activated. They should be noticed. It means your webcam is watching you! For laptops also, there is status LED for integrated webcam.
Can I prevent those web cam hacks?
Webcams can be hijacked if you run an insecure system. Sensible use of applications will reduce the risks a lot. These are the basic steps :
- Firewall : The first and foremost thing is to enable your firewall. This makes accessing more difficult for hackers. You can also try Zone Alarm for sophisticated firewall.
- Anti-virus : Make sure you have a good anti-virus and update it properly to prevent such hacks. But remember, your anti-virus is not enough for fighting spyware, which takes control of your peripherals(like webcam). Try Spybot Search And Destroy and Super Anti Spyware. Check the Common Symptoms of Computer Viruses.
- WEP and WPA : Enable your WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). If you are using wireless router or wireless webcam enable your security key. Always enable the highest security encryption possible. Make sure you use a strong password that is not easy to crack. Check Tips For Creating Secure And Strong Passwords.
- Downloads : Be careful about what you download from your Instant Messaging client, like Yahoo! Messenger, MSN, AOL and many more.
- Modesty Shield : Web cam like Logitech Quickcam comes with a modesty shield. This is a visor which flips down over the lens when you don’t want the camera to see anything.
Some Web cam hack cases
A Middle-aged man from Cyprus has been arrested for hacking the webcam of a teenage girl, with the intention to take illicit and compromising pictures of the girl in her bedroom.
This Nicosia computer technician infected the girl’s computer with a Trojan to spy on her. The suspect is said to have taken pictures of the girl and threatened her with e-mailing the pictures to all of her e-mail contacts if she didn’t stand nude in front of the camera. The girl wasn’t having any of it, though, and contacted the police.
This is not the first offence of its nature. Many are adopting similar techniques. A Spanish computer science student was fined by a Spanish court for a similar offence like this.
Another one. But same intention!
A 23-year old student has been caught using his hacker skills, or more specifically, installing some dodgy software applications in order to spy on unsuspecting women using their own webcams.
Craig Matthew Feigin is a student at the University of Florida who was known for also fixing computers if they had a problem. One woman, named Marisel Garcia, had Craig recommended to her by a friend when her laptop started playing up. He took the machine away for the night and brought it back working the next day.
Everything seemed fine, except that every time she went near her machine a little light came on and it also started using the battery a lot quicker.
She got a close friend who knew about computers to come and check it over. They found 2 extra pieces of software installed on the machine called Web Cam Spy Hacker and Log Me In. Craig had clearly been spying on Marisel without her knowledge and uploading the pictures to a remote server.
A quick trip to the authorities and Craig confessed to not only spying on Marisel, but also up to nine other women whose machines he had fixed. In Marisel’s case, he had compiled over 20,000 pictures of her in different states of dress, as well as with her friends and boyfriend.
Craig is now in custody and faces a number of charges coming under the Florida Statute of Offences against computer users.
Some people even use Social Engineering tactics to get the access for your webcam.
You can unplug the web cam when you are not using it or cover it with some stickers temporarily.