Because of the global lockdown situation, almost all of us are being forced to work from home. Even children are not able to attend the schools and are being taught through video conferencing apps like Skype or Zoom. As a result everyone is buying laptops or desktop computers with webcam.
When you have a webcam built-inside your computer (such as in all the modern laptops) or a webcam is attached to your PC, your computer is vulnerable to webcam hacking. This is sometimes done by targeted hacking when someone wants to target only your computer but this is rare unless you are a celebrity. Mostly it is done through malicious software that infects your system and in turn gives control to your webcam through remote access to a cyber-criminal or a hacker group.
Here is some signs that can help you recognize webcam hacking:
- Webcam indicator light is ON. Whenever someone accesses your webcam a blue or red indicator light is turned on. Usually this light is next to the webcam lens. You can easily tell if your webcam is being used even when you are not using it.
- Unusual video or picture files. There is a possibility that the hacker is trying to record your video or snapping pictures, these pictures are saved in the user profile folder of your Windows PC. If you spot some of these files that you don’t remember capturing, then it shows suspicious webcam activity.
- Webcam in use by another process. Try using the webcam yourself which can be done either through an app like Skype or by visiting a website that makes use of the webcam. If you are unable to use your own webcam and get a message – “device in use by another process”, then it is being used by an unknown or suspicious user or process.
- Webcam processes are running in the background. Even if the indicator light is not turned on, it may have been used before you noticed the light. In such a case, the webcam software related processes could be found running in the background.
- Altered webcam settings. Sometimes the hackers try to snoop around the room by zooming in or out or changing the lens angle. When they do this, they change the camera settings and this is how you can spot them.
One thing you can do to avoid webcam hacking is to put a black tape over the webcam lens. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was also spotted using this method. At the same time, you should always keep your Windows operating system up-to-date and install a good security software for complete protection.