It glares at you, often for several hours at a time. You travel with it. You may never use it, but always have it. Webcams are now a staple for our laptops, tablets, and even our phones. As with every aspect of our technologically-inclined society, webcams are not as unassuming as they seem.
You’re NOT paranoid…
The unsettling truth about your webcam is that hackers can access it without your authorization or knowledge. By utilizing malicious software like malware, they can take over your computer, gain access to your webcam, and watch you – any time they like.
In one instance, a woman in Toronto had her laptop webcam accessed while watching Netflix, only to find out the following day, when the hacker sent her photographs of herself. Unbeknownst to her, someone installed a virus on her computer that gave them access to her files and control of her webcam. This is just one of thousands of creepy instances in which personal property and privacy are being violated through webcam hacks.
Webcam hacking has become such a serious issue, that it’s getting attention from the FBI. Director James Comey urged the public to not only be aware of the problem, put to place a piece of tape over their webcam (he admitted that even he follows this protective measure).
What else can you do to protect yourself?
1. Since all of these hacking issues begin at the software level, the first step you can take in defending against infiltration is to make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date. Don’t just assume everything is okay – run updates regularly and check to see if anything suspicious has been downloaded onto your machine.
2. The second – and most fool-proof step you can take in protecting your privacy – is to cover your webcam. The only remaining question is, “What do I cover it with?”
Even though the Director of the FBI does it, putting tape or even a Band-Aid over your webcam just doesn’t look cool. Aesthetically, it’s not pleasing to have this big slab of tape or paper looming over your screen, and brings attention to the fact that you’re paranoid – I mean, proactive.
You can always consider something smaller and sleeker. Something that screams “security.” Of course, I’m talking about our own Contegix-brand camera covers (people clamor for these at conferences – email firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours today). The Contegix cover acts as a shutter – sliding open and shut at your discretion; no sticky tape residue, no cumbersome pieces of paper.
The bottom line is, you should never leave your webcam uncovered unless you’re using it. It’s true that the odds of some stranger accessing your camera and watching you sleep are low, but by simply covering the camera, those odds diminish altogether.
With ever-changing designs and technologies associated with our personal devices, it may be easy to lose sight of the risks posed to them. It’s important to maintain focus on the fact that someone somewhere is willing to access your device and breach your privacy.
At Contegix, we prioritize promoting good security practices. After all, our customer’s security is our responsibility. Though, when it comes to protecting your personal webcam, security starts with you.