How to Protect Your Webcam from Hacking

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    A webcam is an important device for video calls and video conferencing. While it gives people the chance to communicate conveniently despite their locations, it is a huge target for many cyber criminals. Hackers can see what your webcam can view without your permission or knowledge. In this age of the Internet of Things(IoT), attackers can not only hack your webcam, but they might also be watching you through any other camera you have installed in your system. Almost every internet enabled device in use today has a webcam on them. There is a need to protect yourself from attackers who may try to access it without your consent.

    How does a webcam get hacked?

    One of the common ways that webcams are attacked is via malware. If a cybercriminal manages to inject malware into your system, the malware can install remote desktop applications which means hackers can take control of your device including the webcam. A cybercriminal can spy on you and use of the gathered information to decide on the appropriate time to break into your house.

    How to protect your webcam from hacking

    Keep the webcam software updated

    Webcams have an associated software that facilitates video calling. Cybercriminals are always looking for security loopholes in the webcam applications to exploit. The various webcam manufacturers release software updates to fix any security vulnerabilities. It is, therefore, important to keep your software updated to protect yourself from attackers. You can get software update notifications by signing up or by regularly visiting the webcam manufacturers site to download the updates.

    Scan your device for malware

    Attackers usually utilize malware to exploit the webcam application. To keep your device free from malware, you should scan it regularly.

    Virtual private network (VPN)

    Having an anti-malware in your device is crucial to block malicious software that could take control of your webcam app. However, it is vital to add an extra layer of security by implementing a VPN. VPN is good in keeping you anonymous. It establishes a private secured network from any connection you access. If you often use public Wi-Fi, VPN is an excellent choice to protect you from the numerous security threats associated with public connections.

    Avoid unfamiliar links

    Attackers can take control over your PC including the webcam by tricking you into clicking a link that installs malware in your device. You should never click suspicious links in downloaded files or emails from unfamiliar people. You should only download email attachments from trusted recipients.

    Monitor the indicator light

    Most webcams have an inbuilt indicator that lights up when the camera is in use. If you realize that your light is up and you are not using the webcam, that should be a warning sign of something suspicious. You should also keep in mind that attackers can disable the indicator light to hide their presence. Cybercriminals use webcams to take compromising pictures that they could use to demand ransom.

    Update your password

    Passwords are the weak spots of many presumably secure systems including webcam applications. A lot of users do not change the default password and username making hackers work a lot easier. You should, therefore, change your webcam app login details regularly. A strong password should also be used to minimize the chances of an attacker accessing your webcam.

    Turn your firewall on

    A firewall is a piece of hardware or software that scans the incoming or outgoing traffic to detect any signs of unauthorized access. Most computers come with a firewall to block unauthorized access to your computer. Always remember to turn your firewall on since most of them require administrative privileges to turn on.

    Unplug the web camera

    The surest way to know your external webcam won’t be used to spy on you is to disconnect it from power whenever it is not in use. Some laptops have a sliding cover that hides the webcam when it’s not in use. Alternatively, you can use electrical tape over the lens.

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