Many people mistakenly think that amidst the vastness of the Internet, no one would think of attacking their computer. This may be a common belief, but it is only a myth. Hackers target vulnerable and unpatched computers, stealing sensitive information from the user. You can lose your hard-earned money, your sense of security, and even your privacy. After all, some of these criminals can also hijack your computer’s camera.
Accessing your Computer through a RAT
We’re not saying that hackers will let a robotic rat sneak into your house and tinker on your computer. What we meant by the term ‘RAT’ is “Remote Access Trojan”.
Have you ever experienced calling customer support and having the person on the other end remotely fix your computer? You just follow some simple instructions and they can use remote administration software to access your device.
This technology is quite common, but it’s not always used for good. There are several malware tools used as hacking weapons. They include Back Orifice, SubSeven, ProRat, and Poison-Ivy, among many others.
Once the Trojan is in your computer, the hacker can watch your every move. They can read your messages; capture your keystrokes and screen activities; and have total control over your device, including your web camera. If you think that the light beside your webcam can always warn you about any suspicious activities, well, you’re wrong. Your cyber stalkers can easily turn it off. So, you won’t even realize that someone has been spying on you. The webcam security you thought you had does not actually exist.
The sad reality is that RATs can easily be bought online and there are thousands of YouTube videos that illustrate how to use them. Aside from government agencies and identity thefts, other people can potentially hack your computer camera. For instance, if you’re a student, your school can secretly monitor you. There are also computer rental places that spy on customers.
Can Someone Hack my Computer Camera?
There are many ways criminals can hack into your computer, accessing vital information and even drivers. With that said, here are some of the methods they use to install a RAT in your device:
- Emails with malware and viruses – Hackers can spread malware by attaching it to emails. By opening the attachment, you’re downloading and installing the malware.
- Emails with links to suspicious websites – The links will send you to a site that emulates a legitimate organization. You will be instructed to download software which may actually be malware or spyware.
- Looking for weaknesses – Hackers can also send out emails, attempting to compromise intrusion prevention systems, intrusion detection systems, and firewalls. They will try to identify whether your computer is unpatched and vulnerable to attacks.
- Unsolicited calls from fake sales/repair specialists – You may receive a call from the hacker pretending to be a repair specialist. They may convince you to install and activate the RAT.
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How to Protect Yourself from Webcam Hacking
By this time, you’ve found the answer to the question “Can someone hack my computer camera?” Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” However, there are some ways you can do to keep hackers from spying on you. Here are some of the preventive measures you can take:
- If you’re not using your camera, disable it or cover it. FBI director James Comey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been reportedly sticking tape over theirs.
- Make sure that your firewall is activated and that your anti-virus/anti-malware tool is updated.
- Always update your operating system, software, drivers, and browser.
- Use your camera only over a secure Internet connection.
- Don’t simply rely on fingerprint locks for webcam security. Make sure you’re using a strong password.
- Do not open email attachments or links unless you are absolutely expecting them.
- Do not entertain unsolicited calls from telemarketers.
- Do not disclose any personal details to strangers online.
As we’ve mentioned, hackers always look for security loopholes. Software developers create patches and updates to fix these bugs. So, we’ll reiterate the importance of updating your operating system, drivers, and software. You can always use Auslogics Driver Updater to conveniently install the compatible and latest versions of your drivers.
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