In this era of video chatting and social media live streaming, your computer’s webcam can never be more relevant.

By Anda Warner, Marketing Specialist,  SEOforX

In this era of video chatting and social media live streaming, your computer’s webcam can never be more relevant. But just like any other tech devices, webcams are prone to hacking, which can lead to a serious, unprecedented privacy breach. Think of a case where authorized person access and illegally takes control of your webcam, without your knowledge. Such a person will effortlessly spy on you and the people around you and, depending on the value and quantity of data he steals, there can be dire repercussions on your part.

And because it hasn’t happened to you yet shouldn’t be a reason for you to imagine that you are safe. The art of criminals recording video footage and then extorting money from people through isn’t an idle Hollywood cliché. It happens to real people. That is why you should be extra careful whenever you see any suspicious changes to your camera.

How do hackers pull this off?

Well, a webcam hacker doesn’t need much to take control of your webcam. All the hacker needs to do is get a malware program that hijacks a webcam and remotely install it into your computer.  Then without your knowledge, he starts to take videos and images of you from his remote location. And if he is interested in your personal information such as files stored in the computer and your regular browsing history, the malware will help him accomplish that, too.

That being said, you don’t need to panic as there are ways of knowing if a hacker is watching you on camera. Besides, it isn’t easy for anyone to control your webcam remotely without you noticing that something is amiss. Once you realize your vulnerability, you can always use a VPN to keep the hackers at bay.

Now that we are all on the same page, let’s look at 4 signs that you can use to check if your webcam is being used by hackers to spy on you.

1. Does the camera misbehave, e.g. change position without your command?

If your webcam is modern enough, then it has the ability to rotate and move in different directions in order to capture the best video/image at the most convenient angle. That is a cool feature when you are using it, but it increases your vulnerability when a hacker takes charge. Always be keen to check if the camera is moving or rotating without your command. If you realize any unusual movement, that is an indication that someone is spying on you.

And because webcams work synonymously with built-in microphones and speakers whenever you video-chat, a misbehaving camera will most likely affect the mic and speakers as well. Be aware of any changes in them as well.

2.Strange storage files

After a hacker records footage via your webcam, that footage – be it video or audio – will be saved among your existing storage files. That is to mean that if a file pops up from nowhere, then that would be a red alert. “Always check out for files you did not create, most particularly in your webcam recordings folder. You cannot also rule out the chances of the hacker having relocated some of his and some of your files to new folders or to a location where you aren’t likely to check on a regular basis,” suggest Diceus, an outsourcing Java development company. For that, always comb every corner of your storage locations and confirm that your webcam settings are in accordance with your specifications at all times.

3. Is the indicator light misbehaving?

Does your webcam indicator blink abnormally or go on without you prompting it?  If yes, someone could be controlling it without your consent. Sometimes other computer programs or browser extension that you are running in the background could be using your webcam thus causing the abnormal blinking. On other occasions, the indicator will malfunction because of a technical problem with your computer. But you shouldn’t leave anything to chance when it gets to your cybersecurity. Be on top of things at all times.

4. Check for background apps

Sometimes malware will be sneaked into your computer as a normal application. This is especially the case when you are fond of downloading apps from unsecured websites, so a malware app finds an easy way to your operating system. Always be on the lookout for software/apps that are running on your computer without you having installed them.

About the Author

Anda Warner is an experienced marketing specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Anda possesses a strong entrepreneurial mindset and has devoted her career to enhancing the sphere of marketing and event production.    website