The Reason Why You Should Cover Your Laptop Webcam When You’re Not Using It

Image: Wollertz / Shutterstock.com

This may sound like a 21st-century nightmare that can’t be true, but you need to know that you’re putting yourself at risk if you do not have the habit of covering your laptop’s webcam at home.

Because that innocuous webcam might be spying on you.

Webcam Spies

Using webcams allows you to stay in touch with friends and family, but they also pose a risk of people hacking into them and spying on you. And believe me, there were cases like that.

A Pennsylvania lawsuit accused a school district of using webcams on school-issued laptops to spy on students and their families.

In Toronto, a woman was sent intimate photos of herself and her boyfriend watching Netflix. In China, a sophisticated network of hackers known as GhostNet has hacked about a thousand webcams in 103 countries.

Of course, you might think that yours is safe, but hey: how many of those people whose webcams were compromised think the same way?

But how, you ask.

How do hackers attack webcams?

Most hackers utilise Trojan horse attacks to spy on you. Trojans, unlike other viruses, do not spread through copy-and-paste. Instead, they are hidden within programs that you install on purpose.

When a webcam hack occurs, Trojan malware finds a way to activate cameras and control them without the owner’s knowledge.

A hacker can then remotely control your PC’s function and make it do whatever he wants.

So, other than covering your webcam when you’re not using it, what should you do to secure that hole on the top of your laptop?

Do’s and Don’ts to secure your webcam

Don’ts

We’ve often waited for tomorrow for a meal with our family. But what if tomorrow never comes? Watch this and you'll understand:

  • Don’t click on suspicious attachments. Email attachments remain a prime source for malware.
  • Don’t install applications from sources you do not trust and avoid questionable websites.
  • Don’t keep PCs with webcams in your bedroom, and remind your family members to not do anything in front of the webcam unless they want the world to see it.

Do’s

  • Do install a strong security software. This can prevent any virus from entering your PC. They can provide a software which offers malware and spyware protection.
  • Do look for the indicator light, in case you’re recorded without your knowledge.
  • Do secure your Wi-Fi connection with a strong password, so that they won’t be able to hack into your network.

Of course, like the headline suggests, do place a piece of tape or paper over the webcam when you’re not using it. If you’d have realised, most firms with tight cybersecurity measures do that.

Now, please don’t be a joker and use this tape:

Image: IndiaMART

That’s like using paper to make an umbrella #justsaying