Kahl Consultants Should You Cover Your Webcam

It's 2020 and the COVID pandemic has forced everyone to stay indoors more. Way more people now have to rely on computers for information, shopping, entertainment, communication and so much more. The world is using the internet more than ever before, so online risks are growing rapidly.

Hackers have several reasons to hack a PC or mobile device, ranging from "script kiddies" (techie teenagers) doing it for fun and some bragging rights all the way up to professional criminals using it for assorted illegal activities.

Did you know your webcam and phone camera can be used to blackmail you? Hacking a webcam is called "Camfecting" and it can happen to anyone with a webcam or smartphone who does not have security measures in place.

Why Cover Your Webcam

Once hackers get into your computer or phone, they can remotely manage your machine and you can say goodbye to your privacy. How do hackers get in? Usually, they send you a link, an image or video to trick you into downloading software onto your computer. With mobile devices, there even are hacker tools that infect any mobile device as long as they are physically near you.

Internet webcams have an IP address to permit remote access. If your camera is not protected (e.g. with a strong password) it makes a hacker's job easier. Placing a cover over your webcam gives you security from hackers and any opaque material (like a piece of tape) will do the trick.

6 Reasons to cover your webcam:

  • More people online means more risks
  • Security - hacking webcams is easier than ever
  • Privacy - there is a market for voyeur webcam photos
  • The FBI recommends it
  • Avoid blackmail
  • Avoid lawsuits

In the 2010 WebcamGate case in Pennsylvania, some high schools were secretly spying on students via webcams on school-issued laptops. Parents had to file lawsuits to stop this privacy invasion.

On the black market, you can even buy access to compromised webcams. A BBC reporter found the going price for access to a woman's webcam was $1 whereas computer webcams belonging to men cost a penny.

Even governments are getting in on the action. Yes, a government agency can literally switch on any webcam they choose, and without your knowledge.

Lastly, have you heard of IoT, the Internet of Things? Zillions of physical devices around the world are now connected to the internet. Everything from light bulbs to smart toasters to cars and houses and airplanes. Each has the potential to be hacked and if they have a webcam, well you can guess what happens next. That teddy bear with the baby monitor camera? It could allow hackers to not only watch your kid but even talk to it.

Here's an article from Engadget with proof of modern "Peeping Toms". Kaspersky: Can Your Webcam Spy on You?
Visit KC News, for more tips about your online world. Our Hoax & Virus Alert page provides security tips. Since 1996 we have help clients with online marketing services using appropriate technology and tools. For your online marketing needs, give Kahl a Call at 415-499 0838.