The Threat to your Computer via your Webcam
Webcams are everywhere – on your computer, mobile phones, tablets and even baby monitors. They’re great for Facetime, Skype, to attend remote meetings and keeping an eye on your home when you are away. They can also be a threat to your privacy if your device gets hacked. A virus called “RAT” (remote access Trojans) can infect your computer, and then someone uninvited could be watching you through your webcam.
Our computer becomes a portal through which someone can spy on you, record your keystrokes, and quickly figure out how to obtain your files and photos, distribute other viruses and malware, reformat drives, access confidential information such as credit cards and passwords and ultimately steal your identity. In some instances, some hackers have recorded the footage of whatever you’re doing and used it for blackmail.
The hackers install RAT in various ways. Most often, they come as attachments to emails, pop up ads, even games linked to YouTube videos. They also put them on thumb drives (USB keys) and leave them on the sidewalk to be found, or send you a message through your computer instructing you to call a computer security advisor.
Be Sure to Protect Yourself and Device This Holiday and Beyond
- Unplug your webcam, or if it’s built into your laptop, cover it up with masking tape.
- Make sure you have the latest anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-spyware and a firewall.
- Don’t leave your PC on all day long. Shut down when not in use.
- Close your laptop lid when not in use.
- Don’t install a lost thumb drive you found. Destroy it before someone else falls for the trick.
- Don’t talk on the phone to who ever offers unsolicited “tech support” not matter how legitimate they sound.
- Consider identity theft protection.