Webcams make it possible for us to make face-to-face calls with friends and family over the Internet. These days, webcams are built into most laptops, many desktop computers, and mobile devices, so it’s important for everyone to understand the risks.
What are the risks of using webcams?
The main risk is that your webcam could be hijacked, enabling people to spy on you. Just as a hacker could gain control over your computer, they could also take over your webcam, switching it on and off, taking photos and watching everything you do, without your knowledge.
How do hackers attack webcams?
- One way for a hacker to get a virus into your computer or device is by sending you an email with a link. If you receive an email from a stranger, think carefully before clicking on a link or attachment.
- You also have a high risk of having your webcam hacked if you don’t have up-to-date antivirus software on your computer, and your other software is not up-to-date. That’s why you should make sure you always have the latest version of security software on your devices, including smartphones and tablets.
- Avoid putting webcams in private areas such as bedrooms.
- Cover the webcam when not in use, by sticking something on it, or pointing it at a blank wall.
- Pay attention to the indicator light on your webcam.
- Use strong antivirus software which offers protection from malware and spyware, and make sure you keep it up-to-date.
- Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is password protected.
- Avoid online contact with people you don’t know.
- Don’t do anything in front of the camera that you’re not ready to share with the whole world.
- If you use your webcam with people you meet online, think about how well you know them. You may think you are having a private conversation, but are you sure they are the only person who can see you? Consider whether they could be recording what you are saying or doing. A scammer might even post a video of your chat on a social network or share it using their mobile phone.