What Do You Need To Know About Your Web Cam In Order To Protect Your Security And Privacy?

The one fear that we all have when it comes to the internet is someone being able to break our privacy. But unfortunately it does happen from time to time. When it does happen it tends to make people feel unsafe and not sure whether they want to share anything on the internet anymore. Once you feel as if your privacy has been broken and your secrets have been shared with the world, it is hard for you to get that feeling of security back.

Most of the time when our privacy is broken it is through a technology like email or a social network service like Facebook. Someone is able to break into our password and get information from us. We will sometimes even find out that we have an intruder in our computer. And that is when our worse fears can come to fruition.

There have been attacks recently by black hat hackers being able to get inside of a person’s computer. Of course this is something that we have always heard about but the new twist is that they are able to take over our web cams.

What Do You Need To Know About Your Web Cam In Order To Protect Your Security And Privacy?

How are they able to do it?

There are several ways in which the bad guys are able to get inside of your computer and take over your web cam. Unfortunately most of the time it is through an action that you performed that allows them entrance into the machine. Either you went to the wrong web site and clicked on a malicious link or you downloaded a bad program. Either way, the bad guys were able to get into your computer and now they have control of your web cam.

Some of you are thinking right now that it is not a big deal because you can just unplug your web cam and then run an antivirus program to get rid of the infection. That is true; some of you can do that. But other people have web cams that are connected to their computers, mainly people who have laptops or netbooks, and they do not have that option. Sure, they can run an antivirus program to get rid of the infection but by the time they notice it might be too late. The person has already taken a good amount of pictures or video without the owner of the computer even knowing about it.

If you are attacked in this manner hopefully the person is just a voyeur and they will keep it quiet. But there is a good chance that the person will not keep it quiet and will either try to extort you with a bribe or just put your video on the internet just for the laughs. I know this sounds really scary but I will show in the next few paragraphs how to keep this from happening to you.

How do I prevent this?

If you want to be sure that this doesn’t happen to you then there are a few things that you can do. The first thing that you can do is to make sure that you unplug your camera when you are not using it. Or if you have a laptop where the camera cannot be unplugged then make sure that it is turned off. These days most cameras will not come on without the light turning on as well. That is the ideal situation. But there are some older models where the hacker can still get the camera on without the light showing up. If it is possible, make sure that you have a model where the light automatically turns on.

Another thing that you can do is to make sure that you follow the same safety rules as you do with everything else on your computer. Make sure that you do not click on any links that you are not sure about. Even if the link was sent by someone that you know, do not click on it. Also make sure that you have a good antivirus program installed and that it is up to date. This will keep any new infections from affecting your computer. There are new viruses and malware popping up all of the time, make sure that you are protected from them. And the last thing that you need to make sure of is that your firewall is installed and ready to go. For the person to be able to control your camera they have to get past your firewall to get an open port. Your firewall will alert you if anybody tries to do this.

So if you have a web cam, you want to make sure that no one is able to get connected to it that is outside of your computer. If they do then there can be a lot posted about you on the internet. More than you ever wanted anybody to know!

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Just put a piece of non transparent adhesive tape over the web cam if using a non detachable laptop unit. Especially if you’re not using it that often (or not at all). No hacker can remotely remove physical pieces of tape attached to computers. Yet, I must add… 😉

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