Webcam Hacking – Are You Protected?
Webcams are becoming more and more ubiquitous these days, especially with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets, but how safe are they? A UK investigation by BBC journalists has found that hackers can turn on a computer’s webcam and take photos or record video without the owner’s knowledge.
Hackers can control a computer’s webcam by infecting it with a virus. The most common way to get infected is by clicking a link in an email. After infecting the computer, hackers can turn on the webcam at any time. Some hackers infect computers and then sell the details to others. There are also websites where people exchange pictures and videos taken by hacked webcams.
Hacking is illegal in the UK, and the police warned that anybody trying to hack into someone else’s computer could be arrested and prosecuted. John, who is 16, has hacked over one hundred webcams. He knows what he is doing is illegal, but he isn’t worried about getting caught. He sees it more as a joke. Seventeen-year-old Matti, who is from Finland, says he has hacked over 500 computers in order to sell the details to other hackers. He says he doesn’t care about the legality of it, saying that if he gets paid then it’s ok with him.
Technology experts in the UK say that while webcam hacking is possible and does happen, it is not common, and it is easy to prevent. Most infected computers are using older, out-of-date software, and may not have anti-virus software. Experts advise users to keep all programs up-to-date, use anti-virus software, and avoid clicking on links in emails if you are not sure it is safe.