Do you know that the webcam in front of you probably could have been hacked and exploited? Hackers around the world use various method to gain remote access to your webcam by installing malware when you are browsing through the internet. This does not only apply to computer devices but also possibly the camera or CCTV at the your house that is connected to internet. So long the devices is connected to the internet, the hackers can turn it on and peek into yours activities, without US knowing it. (Yes, they can do it without having the webcam light even switched on).
Cyber development is so rapid and when everyone is talking about Internet-of-Things (IoT) but many are lacking ability to ensure that such development is in line with the security advancement. It is essential that authority should emphasize; and we, as consumer should realize that it is so important that severe consequences can happen if the security, especially for webcam's, many tends to neglect about importance of its security. Take some recent cases as example, once user webcam has been hacked and exploited, hackers normally demand for some sort benefits or 'ransom' in the form of payment and etc. They refer the victim as 'Slave', it could be you and me or the person sitting next to you!
Mark Zuckerberg First!
Well thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, he posted a picture on his Facebook page to celebrate 500 million monthly users of Instagram on 21st of June, 2016. However, very soon that picture has turned into another hot topic of webcam security as his laptop was also captured in the picture and the webcam can be seen covered up by some kind of cellular tape. Which can be seen here.
And with help of Tech Insider, there is also video below about the finding of webcam being covered:
This video has been muted automatically for your viewing pleasure. Click here to find out more.
And then FBI director
Not long after Mark Zuckerberg laptop webcam being spotted covered and hence spurring internet hot discussions about webcam security and privacy. During one of the interviews of the Former FBI director – James Comey, an interviewer asked about the importance of cybersecurity, James Comey highlighted that cyberattacks are ‘inevitable’ and followed by reply below:
“As a good consumer, read about the security of devices and what steps people are taking to protect you,”
“Anybody who wants to do harm to us and to our lives just has another way to do it. I think it’s inevitable and we are moving in that direction, so I think people just need to continue to be sensible in their own sort of security hygiene and asking good questions and not assuming that somebody else has thought about this or someone else has taken care of their security.”
And the topic came about tape over cameras at his home,:
Interview asked “Do you still have a piece of tape over your cameras at home?”
James Comey replied “Heck yeah, oh, heck yeah,”
“I get mocked for a lot of things, and I am much mocked for that, but I hope people lock their cars, lock your doors at night. I have an alarm system – if you have an alarm system, you should use it. I use mine. It’s not crazy that the FBI director cares about personal security as well, and so I think people ought to take responsibility for their own safety and security, There are some sensible things you ought to be doing, and that’s one of them. If you go into any government office, we all have our little camera things that sit on top of the screen, they all have a little lid that closes down on them, You do that so people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”
Speaking of this little lid that closes to cover webcam, we found that however, most of brands available in the market, does not built in with such feature. There are, however, some aftermarket types like Spy-Fy Spyslide that currently Hippos Store is offering.
A lot more harmful that we know
There are so many examples more that we could possibly find to emphasize the importance of webcam security, by referring to a video shared by Danielle Thé, there are also cases where intimate photos of boyfriend and girlfriend was taken and posted directly onto the victim Facebook page! Not to mention that Miss Teen USA that fall into one of the victim list back in 2013. And here goes more:
Suggestion of Webcam Security - How to Protect Your Webcam Privacy
According to study from Lifewire.com, here are some of the examples of securing our webcam:
- Close Laptop when not using it – Pretty easy habit for you and me. Might need little time for those who do not do it normally. Just that this only could solve the laptop webcam security issue, not all home appliances (e.g Desktop).
- Cover it up – Learn the way from Facebook Founder and FBI director. Use either cellular tape or lid to close it up all the time. Again this only solve problems for laptops, computers, tablets, phones and etc. However, there are some who prefer more aesthetics option for their devices might asked ‘why cover your webcam with ugly tape?’ ; and some even worry that having tape stick on the device for too long might expose to the possibility of glue transfer to the device screen, so Hippos Store offer affordable and great looking Spy-Fy Spyslide.
- Use Anti-Spyware - To scan for any suspicious any spyware or malware, however it does not fully guarantee that the spyware will be detected successfully always.
- Be Cautious – Do not open email or any attachment that comes from unknown sources, always check link URL before opening. Apply the golden rule here, if you are unsure about it, do not try it. You may want to neglect about the link rather than losing everything. Just we know occasionally, few of our friends might get hacked and send malicious mails around.
Last but not least
While observing from Facebook founder and FBI director statement could be clear: The threat of compromising our webcam security is simply unimaginable, it is everyone responsibility to pay attention closely into this matter. It is a warning sign to us that we should take action on webcam security, especially in the era that every electronic devices are getting smarter and smarter (televisions, computer, phones, radio/car audio, washing machines, refrigerator or even light-bulbs). It is essential to make sure that all these smart features are properly developed for the benefit of human being, not against. Let us take a step back and think carefully about our capability to prevent things from getting worse, before it is too late.