By Kim Komando
Hackers have more tricks than you can imagine. Many hackers use them to snatch your personal data and accounts. However, a really scary hack involves using your own cameras to watch you around the clock.
I’m talking about webcams, security cameras and even your smartphone or tablet camera. Hackers can break into these with a virus or by exploiting a security hole. Even amateur hackers can figure it out with a simple online search.
Just this last week, there was a problem with Flash in Google Chrome. It let hackers make invisible Flash objects on webpages. If you clicked on one, it would give the hacker full access to your webcam and microphone!
Google fixed the problem fairly quickly, but it just proves how easily hackers can take control.
Once a hacker controls your cameras, they can do whatever they want. There are horror stories of hackers capturing intimate pictures and video of their victims. They use these to force the person into doing what they want. In the worst cases, they take pictures of kids.
Cameras are in most gadgets now, which makes it tough to avoid them. You have to take your security into your own hands. I’ll tell you how you can fight back against peeping hackers and protect your privacy.
There are two ways a hacker can take over your camera. The first involves the camera’s “firmware.” Firmware is a type of software that runs in the gadget itself.
I’ve told you in this tip how outdated digital camera firmware leads to bad pictures. Outdated firmware on a security camera or IP webcam is downright dangerous
Old firmware can have big security holes. Just this last year, there have been several camera systems compromised this way.
That’s why you have to keep your camera’s firmware updated. Check with the camera manufacturer often to find out if there is new firmware. Your camera’s manual should tell you the best place to find new firmware. If you don’t have the manual any more, use this site to grab a new one.
Most newer security and IP cameras have direct links to the Internet. This is so you can watch them remotely. However, some don’t come with a password to protect the stream. Others use a default password that you have to change.
If your camera doesn’t let you set a password, don’t use it. Hackers can easily find the stream.
If the camera comes with a default password, change it immediately. Hackers know all the default passwords. Click here to learn how to create a strong password you won’t forget.
Firmware hacks are rare on standard webcams and mobile gadget cameras. Those are controlled by your computer or gadget software. If a hacker wants to spy with those, they’ll need to sneak a virus on your gadget.
Make sure you download security software to stop that from happening on your computer, smartphone and tablet.
You have to surf safely, as well. Make sure you don’t browse sketchy websites. Don’t click any links or download files from people you don’t know and trust.
You also need to keep critical programs up to date. I already mentioned Chrome earlier. No matter what browser you use, make it’s set to automatically update.
Finally, make sure you know what it looks like when your cameras are on. Most have a light or some notification that they’re filming. If you see this and you didn’t turn it on, take action.
I know some people put a piece of tape or paper over their cameras when they aren’t in use. That’s a good safety tip. But keeping hackers off your gadget is even better.
Tech spies don’t need your webcam to snoop on your surfing. Here are three more ways spies follow you and how you can stop it.
- Advertisers have an easy way to follow you on every site you visit. Click here to learn how to keep them off your tracks.
- The easiest way to keep spies at bay is to leave no trace of your surfing. Delete your Web tracks with these free programs.
- Someone in your own home could be trying to secretly spy on you. Catch them in the act with this cool insider secret.
- Hackers spy on women and girls via webcams, investigation finds (metro.co.uk)
- Smile! Hackers Can Silently Access Your Webcam Right Through The Browser (Again) | TechCrunch (techcrunch.com)
- Access to Women’s Webcams Commands a Premium on Black Market (socialtimes.com)
- ‘They watched me in the bath via my laptop’: How webcam hackers spy on women in their homes | dailymail (andrewazzopardi.org)