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07 / 12 / 2015

Are You Being Watched Through Your Webcam?

Is it possible for someone to connect to my webcam and watch me? Yes, it is possible, and we can provide you with hundreds of stories...

This question excites the minds of many users. You may have heard a story about a missing teen in the USA, who reported to the police that someone was spying on her via a webcam for a year. Cassidy Wolf told about a terrifying moment of how she has got an email containing a series of photos of herself changing, with photos of the naked stalker. Then he tried to blackmail her demanding a ransom and threatened to publish the photos and video in case of failure. Jared James Abrahams, 19, of Temecula, California, surrendered to FBI agents and admitted that he was hacking 100-150 women. He was jailed for 18 months. And this story is not unique. According to the FBI report, about 500,000 webcams were hacked in 2014, and this kind of crime is getting more popular.

How it happens?

Webcam hacking basicaly works via malware, which is possible to detect and remove. The malware comes from the browsers and is installed on your Mac, PC, and other systems. Fortunately, this scheme will not work if you use antimalware or any other security software on your machine. In most cases such layer of protection is enough not to miss malware.

But according to TechCrunch, it is possible to access your webcam directly from your browser by using security patches and holes in the popular Safari and Google Chrome browsers.

The only one way to prevent stalking via webcam is to follow the security tips:

  • Install security software and keep it up-to-date.

  • Check your Mac or PC for malware; check here how to detect malware;

  • Priority gates for malware are emails and popups. Do not accept invitations from unknown senders and websites.

  • Secure your Wi-Fi connection, because this is the second way how your webcam could be hacked. Use VPN servers while using public wi-fi and password protection while surfing the Internet at home.

  • Watch your webcam. Most webcams have the indicator light which is turned on when the webcam is working. However, some hardware doesn’t have this option, for example, MacBook Air. In this case I can suggest simply to put sticker on the camera when it’s not in use.

If your webcam could be hacked, it doesn't mean that it will be hacked and you will become a stalker’s target. Even if your webcam is hacked, the probability that it would lead to crazy actions is quite low. The web is full of tutorials on how to hack a webcam via Internet browsers and other ways. Therefore, my advice is to keep safe by using the antivirus and antimalware protection tools.