5 Effective Tips on How to Secure Your Webcam

Webcams are one of the most important peripheral devices for computers. Without these nifty devices, it’s impossible to carry out video communications and interactions over the internet. But did you know that your webcam can be hacked as well, like your computer hard drive? If you thought it was something made up for movies, you would be completely wrong.

Webcam hacking actually happens quite frequently and is oftentimes used by criminals for easy criminal surveillance. The fact that it doesn’t take much to compromise webcam security also doesn’t help. 

Is Webcam Hacking a Real Thing?

Considering the comparatively fewer number of desktop users compared to laptop and smartphone users, it’s not surprising that many people think webcam hacking is a sci-fi or movie thing. But the truth is, there are a shocking number of webcams around the world that are vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Hackers can easily hijack unsuspecting users’ webcams to secretly watch and even take voyeuristic snapshots or videos of them. They then put up these videos and photos on the internet on different adult sites or use them to blackmail you. 

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to secure your webcam in the same way you can secure your hard drive and data.   

  1. Physically Cover Your Webcam 

The first and most basic trick you could employ to secure your webcam is to cover your webcam with a piece of cloth physically. This physical cover should be thick enough that you can’t see through when holding it up in front of a light source.

You can also use electric tapes for the same effect if you don’t plan to use your webcam for a while. But you should only consider doing so if you’re going out for a trip as tapes can leave smudge marks on poorer quality webcams.

  1. Scan Your Computer for Webcam-Related Spyware 

The second thing you should do is scan your computer for webcam-related spyware since, more often than not, antivirus software isn’t enough. 

The best way to prevent spyware from gaining access to your webcam when it’s not in use is to turn off the webcam from the device manager of your operating system.

If you want to go for additional security, you can invest in a good anti-spyware software to help secure your system. This can be very helpful if you browse a lot on the internet and have to do a lot of video calls. 

  1. Check Your App Permissions

Sometimes spyware can make it through the cracks of even the best anti-spyware software through unchecked app permissions. Spyware can make its way to your desktop through unsecure apps or when running additional third-party webcam-related software.

You can easily confirm this by checking whether your webcam indicator light is turned on even after disabling it.

The best way to counter this problem is to update your webcam software manually. It’s best to use one that allows you to manually select individual secondary updates, which is usually how spyware makes its way to your PC.   

  1. Regularly Update Your Firmware and Software

A lot of times, the main culprit behind a spyware attack is outdated firmware and software. Some users think they can prevent spyware from being downloaded through apps by turning off updates completely. 

But this can actually backfire badly since firmware and software which have not been updated actually make it easier for hackers and spyware to attack the webcam system.

If you haven’t updated your webcam firmware and software in a while, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of one of the computer repair services around you. Once your system has been updated, use a firewall for optimal webcam protection.

  1. Avoid Opening Email Attachments From Strange Sources

Last but not least, always avoid opening email attachments from strange sources. Not only are these an easy access point for viruses and malware to make their way into your system, but spyware as well. Always make sure to scan any document or file attachment you download to be on the safe side.

Precaution is Always the Best Choice

Webcam security for computers is an important part of device security that most users tend to forget until they fall victim to spyware attacks. 

Don’t make the same mistake and secure your webcam using the aforementioned tips and tricks. You can protect yourself from dangerous hackers and spyware quite easily by maintaining good practices.

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