This may sound odd, but have you ever really thought about it?
So many of the devices you use in your day-to-day life have built in cameras. These webcams have the potential to be hacked. This begs the scary question, who could be watching you?
Camera technology is constantly evolving and users are reaping the benefits. But these advancements come with added risk. Hackers are able to hijack these cameras and spy on their users. These warnings have been ringing for years, but they are only being listened to now.
New products have been developed to address this new threat to privacy and now you are able to get stickers, covers and slides that will cover your camera whether it is on a smartphone, laptop or even your TV. There are actually a range of webcam covers with slightly different materials and styles, including ProTech Privacy Webcam Cover, but also dressier versions like SpiShutter (Black) – Magnetic Webcam Shield for Macbook Laptops and they’re even available in easy to buy packs
While this may sound like paranoia there have been a number of instances of people being spied on, photographed and even recorded.
While hackers will usually target those who they believe they can profit the most from, e.g people with a public profile that could be blackmailed, there is a threat to everyone who uses this technology. The threat is very real.
The warnings are so real that even the former FBI director, James Comey, recently advised that everyone should cover their webcams for security. When questioned at a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Comey said that he doesn’t want to be spied on and that in any government office the cameras at the top of the computers have lids that can be closed.
There have been a number of cases where webcams in devices have been abused.
Have you heard these stories…
- In 2010, a school in Pennsylvania was found to be secretly taking photos of students through web cams on school issued laptops. In total, the school snapped about 56 000 privacy violating images of students. They said the laptops had a security software installed so the school could track any stolen laptops, but this meant that the laptops were taking pictures every 15 minutes. The institution escaped criminal charges
- Another case involved a Miss Teen USA contestant. Cassidy Wolf who was crowned in 2013. Prior to this, a student from her high school hacked into her webcam and took photos of her. He then tried to use the pictures to extort money from her. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail. She now uses covers on all of her webcams.
- Mark Zuckerberg also covers his webcam to stop people spying on him as well as taping his microphone on his MacBook.