With the advancement of Internet technology, it’s security has become one of the utmost importance agenda. The question is that “Are you really safe and has total control of who can see you through your Webcam?” Well, you could have been hacked due to some security breach. Thus, unintentionally your privacy is leaking over the world wide web or perhaps there could be hackers on the other end looking for a chance to exploit your private moments.
I fell in this kind of trap on an internship in France when my macOS webcam got hacked and the end result was blackmailing for money. Therefore, in this blog post, I want to teach you how can you detect and remove such activities from your laptop’s webcam. So, let’s get started.
Also, Read | How To Hack Wifi Just In 5 Minutes
What is Camfecting(Webcam Hacking)?
Nowadays, PCs and mobile devices are equipped with Webcam and microphones that can be easily infected with a myriad of hacking techniques. This let hijackers intercept the video and audio activities of your device.
Camfecting is one of the methods that hackers use to exploit your privacy. Electronic devices such as a camera, baby monitors, external webcams or inbuilt webcams can be infected with some kind of malware(Virus). This eventually gives access of your hardware to Cybercriminals. Later, they use your camera to maneuver you on their fingertips.
Once they have access, they can then remotely turn these peripherals devices on to record whatever they can see, including user’s private moments and conversations which exactly happened to me👀. Moreover, they use these recordings to extort users generally for money. They threaten them that they will viral those embarrassing recordings on social media which will be the pathetic situation for most of us. This way, they get victims to agree to their demands.
Recently, we had a buzz off for Zoom app vulnerability that gives access to the webcam of the macOS even if it is turned off. Another such incidence happened in 2013 when an American hacker used Camfecting on more than a hundred women to get their compromising images which were later used for blackmailing.
How Do Hackers Hack Webcam?
Hackers use a plethora of ways to hack you. But, the most common technique is using invasive malware injection(a kind of program). This is capable of taking over computing peripherals. According to Reason Cybersecurity(an antivirus and solution provider company) says,
Furthermore, CTO of Reason, “Andrew Newman” share his opinion that their devices help us stay connected and be visible online. But, this also forges security risks. Unfortunately, it has become too easy for hackers to target devices like webcams and invade our privacy.
If you’re worried about Camfecting, then this is how you can check and remove it.
How To Check For Webcam Infection?
If you are aware of certain things, you can easily detect the malware injection. However, over time, hackers have become intelligent in hiding the malware and disguising the victim. To exacerbate, most of us are unaware of this because of our carelessness or we think that nothing is wrong. Fortunately, there are some symptoms that the infection shows. Here are the steps you should follow if you fall in the trap to observe the symptoms.
1. Unusual Network Traffic on Your Task Manager
If you will open your “Task Manager”(Ctrl + Shift + Esc) or “Activity Monitor”(cmd + space then type activity monitor in the search bar) on Windows and Mac respectively, you can quickly observe the overutilization of your CPU, or some unnecessary traffic on the network tab consuming data.
The task manager or the Activity Monitor will show you which applications are accessing the network. In the example above, “Service Host” is using bandwidth while optimization. In the same way, if use you Zoom, Viber, Skype or any other software for video calling, and if they are turned off, ideally they should not consume any bandwidth. If you find that they are using some data, that means your webcam is hacked.
2. WebCam’s Light Turning on Without any Reason
You must have observed that whenever you turn on your webcam, there is a LED light(may be of any color but generally green). This indicates that your webcam is capturing the image or the video from it. But, this light only gets switched on when you open your webcam. if, you are not using the camera of your device and still you see that the light is blinking or getting “ON” or “OFF” without your interference that means something is wrong with it.
When you make video calls on messaging applications like Skype or Viber, the LED lights up. If you notice it turning on when none of these valid webcam applications are running, chances are someone else is accessing it.
3. Notifications from Active Monitoring Softwares
There are several paid and free software available in the market which you can use to detect any analogous activity of your webcam. One such free software is iSPY which you can use to get notifications if someone else turns on your webcam from a remote location. This way you can be aware of how and when your webcam is active.
Another software is ReasonCybersecurity which instantly notifies users if an application is trying to access or activate webcams and microphones. This way, you can stop any suspicious activity.
4. Running Scans and Checking for Malware Results
You can run any antivirus, for instance, “McAfee or Avast” for Camfecting malware detection. As this antivirus software can easily detect the popular remote access tools like Blackshades. Your antimalware solution should be able to check the memory, startup processes, browser cache, system files, and plugins for the presence of any malicious processes.
How To Remove Malware and Keep Yourself Safe?
You can follow some simple steps to keep your privacy safe without compromising the use of a webcam.
- Unplug your external webcam if you are not using it all the time. When you use, your plugin. This is the quickest and perhaps the most effective way to keep yourself safe.
- You can place tape over your laptop’s webcam while you are not using it. Most of the people use this way to ensure their safety.
- Don’t click to any attachments. The most common form of webcam hacking is a RAT(Remote Administration Tool) that allows a hacker to take control of your PC and its built-in webcam.
- Using an antimalware/antivirus software application that can easily detect, disable and remove the infection.
- When you use such kind of software, they will generally give you two options on what to do with the discovered malware. The first option is Quarantine and the other is the Deletion. The prior option moves the suspicious files to an isolated space where they are not allowed to run on the operating system whereas the other one securely terminates the malicious files.
- Keep your Firewall on and webcam software up-to-date.
Hope you stay safe and protected. Do comment down below.👇