Declan Dunn, TechViews News …..
Several months ago we saw a photo of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, with the camera on his laptop taped over. So, what’s up with that?
We play loose with our passwords and connect all our fun gadgets to the Internet. We know Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others are scanning all our emails, texts, even cloud uploads.
Now we see Amazon Alexa and Google Home as gadgets that are always on and recording every sound we make. Our phones have cameras just like our laptops. Heck, even our cameras have a second camera to record the person doing the recording.
What could possibly go wrong?
Popular opinion has it that bad guy hackers are using their skills to gain access to the cameras within our laptops, smart-phones, tablets and even home security set-ups. But how true is this?
It’s not just webcam blackmailers you need to worry about: people can and are gaining an all-too-intimate look into our lives, and surprisingly easily at that. Why is it so easy? because we think it will never, ever, ever, happen to us.
While most people like to accuse hackers, it’s not just ill-intentioned internet bad boys spying on you. In recent years everyone from the security services to schools to employers have been found to have spied on people using integrated cameras to track users (and in some cases, for far less wholesome reasons.)
Victims of webcam hacks have seen images and videos of themselves – regularly in states of undress or in compromising situations – uploaded to websites. On top of this, there have been multiple instances of friends using these unlawful techniques to spy on people they know.
And there are multiple cases of people connecting to your home wi-fi, gaining access to your in-house security cams, and threatening or blackmailing home-owners with what they see.
It’s not just your laptop you need to be worried about either. Scarily, connected baby monitors have repeatedly been the subjects of unlawful viewing. And we even know, through Edward Snowden, that government agencies have been watching us though our smart-phones.
In fact, In the USA, every call, text, email, everything, is caught, recorded, and logged by the NSA.
There’s a number of means by which hackers can gain access to people’s webcams. The most common, however, is through the use of Trojan horse malware. This is malicious code hidden within seemingly innocent files that once downloaded will do its thing and give the bad guys backdoor control of your device.
But an increasing way people are gaining access is to physically be in range of your home wi-fi/router and gain access to your system through an easily guessed password. Your router simply thinks the new computer sitting outside is supposed to be there. After all, without your password it couldn’t get in… right?
Don’t think your life’s interesting enough to be snooped on? That’s not the point. Haven’t done anything wrong? That’s not the point either.
The point is simply that we are being watched and recorded without our consent. Maybe you like strangers watching you prance around in your underwear, or watching your child in a part of the house that you are not in. I sure don’t.
Unless you’re being specifically targeted by someone you know, hackers often take a scatter gun approach, waiting for people to fall prey to bogus download links for memory pills, computer drivers, and sexual enhancement toys. Judging by the number of those ads floating on all kinds of websites, there are plenty of fools just waiting, and willing to be snared.
And many bad guys are simply driving around neighborhoods with wi-fi detectors looking for unsecured home routers.
It might sound obvious – like looking both ways before crossing the street – but make sure your device is running some solid anti-virus software if you’re worried about unwanted watchers. Software capable of spotting and blocking malware before it’s done any damage to your machine is necessary for both computers and smart-phones.
That’s not the only solution though. If you’re using an external webcam, the easiest way to protect yourself is to simply unplug it.
You’ve probably seen people in your local coffee shop with a bit of sticky tape, part of a post-It note or tape over their laptop’s camera – heck, even Facebook founder and full-on billionaire Mark Zuckerberg does just that.
As it turns out that’s the most effective means of keeping secure, even if some new fangled hack manages to bypass your antiviral software. So, get to it, tape it over before you go to bed tonight.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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