Are hackers spying on you through your computer camera and phone camera? Yes, it is true. Your webcam or phone camera can be hacked, which means that the hacker can monitor you and potentially steal your personal information. However, there are ways to prevent or identify the hacking of your webcam and phone camera.
What would a hacker do with a device’s camera?
If you see a camera icon at random, when you know none of your trusted apps are running, your device may be hacked. The good news is that modern devices use a light to indicate whenever the camera has been activated. If you see this light even though you know no app is running, it might be time to back up your data and wipe your device clean.
If a hacker infiltrates your device, they’re probably looking for something specific. But usually they’re after big data, rather than you personally. It’s not individual consumers that hackers are targeting — it’s the big businesses that collect our data. In one instance, a hacker was able to access the security camera records of hundreds of thousands of hospitals, warehouses and jails.
Although businesses are targets of online attacks, hackers also attack individuals. Malware and other malicious files can give a hacker access to your camera and important information about you. Cybersecurity best practices help you protect your computer from these files or identify them if your computer is infected. The first step in cybersecurity is to create strong passwords and use 2 factor authentication on everything.
Keep your device from becoming a spy camera
If you’re concerned about your camera being used a spying tool for hackers, there are some simple steps you can take to make it hard for hackers to use your camera maliciously.
Don’t let them see you! I’m sure that would be a big privacy concern regarding your webcam, laptop covers are a cheap and easy way to prevent hackers from seeing you. They can be found in most electronics stores or online. Even sometimes given out for free at events. However, keep in mind that just covering your webcam won’t protect you from hackers who are actually trying to break into your system.
If you aren’t using your laptop or phone, it’s better to turn it off completely than leave it in a “hibernating” mode. Hackers can use your camera to spy on you even when the device is off. However, even if the device is “sleeping,” it can be used for spying.
Use known security strategies to prevent or identify camera breaches
Before you start sharing your life with the world, make sure you’re safe. There are many CISA recommended cybersecurity best practices that can help you. One of them is knowing what to do if your computer is infected.
One tall tail sign… If your webcam light is on when you’re not using it, that could be a sign of a hacker accessing it. If you notice this happening, check your device’s camera permissions to see which apps and services are using it.
- Windows: Start > Settings > Privacy & security > Camera.
- Mac: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Camera.
- Android: Settings > Privacy > Permission manager > Camera.
- iOS: Settings > Privacy > Camera.
You might be surprised what’s using your camera without your permission. If you don’t recognize an app, don’t allow it to have access to your camera. Good apps include Microsoft Teams and other messaging services, but bad apps can secretly record you and steal your information. If you notice unusual storage files, strange network activity, or unknown applications, ask yourself if they’re part of a malware attack.
A little less known fact is that Windows Defender is now just as good as some commercial antiviruses. As you know it hasn’t always been this way, but the current version is effective against most malware. Just make sure you avoid malicious links and files while you browse the web, and your computer should be safe.
However if you feel that Windows Defender isn’t good enough and after all you do get what you pay for since its free. My go to choice for a paid antivirus solution that would be more robust is choosing Bitdefender.
This antivirus software has cross-platform protection for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android, which is ideal because we have so many different types of devices.
Bitdefender also provides a Camera and Microphone Monitoring. The software will let you know when random apps have access your camera or microphone.
When in doubt, seek professional help
There is no shame in seeking professional help. Even though you have an antivirus, there can be a virus that it can’t catch. What do you do? The best way to find out if your computer has been hacked is to bring it to a cybersecurity expert for a closer look. Cybersecurity is no joke, and hackers are becoming sneakier. Sometimes, the best and only way to identify and remove camera-spying malware is to take the machine to a trained professional.