Hackers are using webcams to turn people into ‘slaves’ by secretly recording them through their computer.
A security expert has warned that those who don’t cover their webcams risk being blackmailed by hackers who have taken incriminating footage of them.
The researcher said communities of cyber criminals exist where users boast of the unsuspecting people who they watch ‘for fun’ through hacked webcams.
The best way to protect yourself is using a sticker to cover your device’s camera, a technique used by Mark Zuckerberg and ex FBI-Director James Comey.
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A security expert has warned that those who don’t cover their webcams risk being blackmailed by hackers who have taken incriminating footage of them. The researcher said communities of webcam-hackers exist where users boast of their crimes
HOW TO STOP YOUR WEBCAM BEING HACKED
Step 1: Unplug it
Step 2: Change the password
Step 3: Don’t click attachments
Step 4: Scan your PC for malware
Step 5: Look for the indicator light
Step 6: Change your webcam
Step 7: Turn on your firewall
Step 8: Use your webcam sensibly
Despite all the available methods, the simplest one, and the one used by experts, is to put a piece of tape over the webcam.
Security expert Candid Wueest, who works for California-based firm Symantec, spoke to the Metro about the dangers of webcams and how to protect yourself.
He said there are large groups of hackers who spy on people and brag about their criminal activity on the dark web.
Some have started demanding ransom for images and videos captured of sexual acts/masturbation.
Hackers threaten to post incriminating evidence to Facebook or LinkedIn unless a ransom of around £100 ($135) is paid.
‘Unfortunately there are some people just doing it for the fun of it, having power over others,’ Mr Wueest said.
‘If they have someone who really freaked out or cried in front of the machine, they boast about that.
‘It’s one of the ugliest types of cyber bullying we’ve seen.’
The online forums tell the warped stories of the people spying through webcams. ‘Rating’ is the term used to describe the process of using malware to access a webcam’s footage without permission
The forum’s are a dark place – sympathy for the people being exposed doesn’t go down well with the other ‘rats’. The ‘stupidity’ of the victims warrants the exploitation and abuse in the eyes of the hackers
The hackers justify the spying through webcams as their victims ‘deserve to be played around with’ as it is ‘their own fault if they trust programs from grey places’
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, avoids intrusion from hackers by putting a strip of tape over his laptop camera and microphone (seen bottom left)
A photo (above) that Zuckerberg shared to help celebrate Instagram’s 500 million monthly active users shows his laptop’s camera and audio jack (both circled) covered with pieces of tape
The ability to remotely take control of another person’s camera has long been known, the FBI allegedly had the ability to spy on people via the webcams back in 2013.
The hackers use malware to download and install software onto machines, giving total access to the device.
Malware can be used to access password information and credit card details but the new wave of vindictive spying is a more personal attack.
All machines are vulnerable if the malware is installed, often disguised and easy to download, the malware can get anywhere.
The hackers use malware to access the webcam footage and spy on you without you knowing. Some do it to get a kick out of the power they have over another person, some have started demanding ransom for images and videos captures of sexual acts/masturbation (stock)
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as well as ex-FBI Director James Comey, avoid intrusion from hackers by putting a strip of tape over their laptop cameras and microphones.
‘I cover up mine, on all my laptops, and just uncover it when I need to use it,’ said Mr Wueest.
While there are other methods of ensuring your privacy – scanning for malware, putting in passwords and activating firewalls – tape or nail varnish is the safest and easiest way, Mr Wueest said.