Gone are the days people used to believe webcams cannot be hacked and they cannot be compromised. Nope, webcams hacking is not only possible on movies based on hacking but also in real life. Now even a script kiddie can do that easily with the help of some software and social engineering tactics. If they get access to your computer through some form then they can easily hack your webcam. Hackers can get into your place easily, it is like crushing a paper for them, damn easy.
Why People Hack Webcams? What’s the benefit?
Actually there are several reasons why hackers hack your webcam, they are as follows:
- For Peeping opposite sex and taking compromising pictures of them. Then later use it for blackmailing or lust purpose. They are infamously called as “Peeping Toms”.
- Use those clips and pictures for Pornography. That is really sad, but true. They sell it for such sites and earn money.
- Hack webcams to spy on their girlfriends or boyfriends. Evergreen reason!
- To monitor your house and see when you are not in home. So that can break into your house and rob.
The Good News is that you can protect your webcam easily and you can do it now if you haven’t, because your privacy matters the most. Below you can find some essential tips to protect your webcam or prevent your webcam from getting hacked.
Basic Tips To Protect Your Webcam From Hacked
Here are some basic and recommended tips for protecting your webcam from hackers. Having good software + hardware makes things more comfortable.
1. Enable Firewall: Firewalls are used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, maybe your own computer. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software. Firewall is MUST since it can block/prevent any third-party access to your webcam.
Some free Firewalls for Windows which you can count on :
2. Use decent Antivirus: Every system should have a proper Antivirus to avoid all sorts of computer and internet security problems. We recommend Bitdefender, you can check our review about Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012.
3. Spyware Detection Program: Having a firewall and Antivirus is not enough, you’ll need a Spyware detection program to avoid someone spying on your webcam. You check CNET for free Spyware detection programs.
4. Use WEP, WPA, WPA2 or other security key: If you are using any wireless router or wireless webcam then enable the security key for that. Such security keys make hackers hard to get into. WEP Encryption is now kinda outdated. Simple things like this will secure your Wi-Fi connection and also secure the wireless network you have.
5. Keep your PC/Mac up-to-date: Regularly update the software in your computer. They will contain recent security fixes and are essential for your computer’s security.
6. Use Good Webcam: Choose a webcam that has good security features and buy a branded one if you can afford. Buy a webcam that has LED light and lens cover. The former is to identify whether the webcam is “ON” or “OFF” and the latter is to cover the webcam when it is not in use, old fashion but still worthy. You can buy a webcam which has Modesty Shield, it is like a visor which flips down over the lens when you don’t want the camera to see anything.
Good Webcams We Recommend :
- Logitech HD Webcam C270
- Logitech C260 Webcam
- Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 Webcam
Tip: Don’t forget to read your webcam’s instruction manual, this will make you much easier to find out how it actually works. Like when it turns OFF, when the light color changes and stuffs like that.
7. Use Good Router: You should also consider buying a reliable and secure wireless router. Nothing can replace a good router.
Some More Practical Tips To Avoid Hacking
Great! Now you have protected your webcam from getting hacked, but still if you are worried, you can just follow these practical real-life tips to avoid getting your webcam compromised.
8. Don’t use ‘unknown’ service centers: If you check this post you can see some case studies and instances where service centers compromise customer laptops and use it for their desire and money. So you should avoid strange and unknown service center for repairing your laptop or personal computer. You can approach the official service center if it is near-by. Scan your computer or laptop after getting it from the service center.
9. Don’t do anything ‘private’ in front of webcam: You can be mischief, but don’t try that in front of the webcam. You could be accidentally undressing or doing anything private with your webcam “ON”, so to avoid the risk keep your laptop or move away from that place when you are about to do something ‘private’.
10. Protect Your Associated Accounts: If your Yahoo! Messenger or Facebook account can be hacked, then the hacker could easily make sure of your webcam after hacking by using some tactics since both Yahoo! Messenger and Facebook have video chats.
Silly yet Simple Tips To Protect Yourself
If you are a not geeky type of person and want to solve this simply, then here are some simple tips for you.
11. Unplug the webcam when you don’t use it: So simple right? Instead of wasting all your precious time tweaking the settings you can simply unplug the webcam from the USB Port when you are not using it.
12. Turn it to face a wall when you don’t use it: How about turning the webcam to face the wall?
13. Use a tape to cover the lens: Though not really recommended, if you can uncomfortable with both #11 and #12 then you can count on this one.
14. Don’t keep your webcam in private area: I mean your computer + webcam, you can keep it somewhere like a normal separate room where you don’t do any other stuff. Even if your webcam is hacked, they won’t really get the benefit.
It is true that webcams can be hacked and you can protect your computer as well as your webcam in order to prevent it from being hacked. If you have any queries, kindly feel free to comment below.