You use your computer daily, although I bet you rarely, if ever, consider that someone could be spying on you through your built-in camera on a laptop or a standalone camera that connects via USB. Worse thing is that you wouldn’t even know it.
Your webcam can seriously threaten your privacy, and you want to always ensure that no one is spying on you.
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Even Mark Zuckerberg has been known to cover his laptop camera. If the CEO of big tech social media Facebook knows the risks, you should too.
What’s at stake if someone hacks into my laptop camera
If someone hacks into your webcam, it could not only potentially compromise your security. It’s an invasion of privacy, and someone could watch you without your knowledge or consent.
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This could include seeing you in your personal space or even capturing sensitive information like passwords, bank account information or private conversations.
If someone were to record compromising footage of you, they could use it to blackmail or extort you for money or other demands, which is often a criminal hacker’s intent.
With hackers accessing your webcam, they are likely to swipe additional personal information on your computer, which could be used for identity theft.
Furthermore, hacking into your webcam could be a way for hackers to install malware or viruses on your computer, which could cause further damage to your system or steal additional data. On an emotional level, it can leave you feeling shaken and abused.
How to know if someone has hacked your webcam
Whether you use the built-in camera that comes with most laptops or an external webcam, these are some key signs that your camera has been hacked.
- Check the webcam indicator light. Your laptop will have a light turn on when the camera is in use, whether it is red, green or blue. If you see the light turned on or blinking and you know you didn’t do anything to make that happen, then someone has hacked into your webcam. Be aware that your camera could turn on when launching a specific app like Zoom.
- Check your storage files. If you see audio or video storage files suddenly appear on your computer that you did not create, that is a major warning sign that someone has hacked your webcam. Make sure you also check your webcam settings and know where your video and audio files are being saved on your computer, as a hacker can easily change that.
- Beware of unknown applications. If you see any applications on your computer that you don’t recognize, your computer may have been infected with malware, and those applications could be using your webcam without your consent. Try running your webcam if this happens, and if it says your webcam is already in use, then you have likely been hacked.
- Scan your computer for malware. We always recommend using strong antivirus software like our #1 pick TotalAV to prevent you from clicking on any malicious links that may install malware on your computer. The software will also be able to scan and detect any suspicious activity happening on your device and eliminate the malware.
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- Look out for any suspicious movement. If you’re using an external webcam, they are becoming much more advanced, and some can even move around to better capture a video or picture or adjust lenses. Watch out for any movements that the camera does on its own without you commanding it to.
- Check your webcam security settings. Look to see if your password or admin name has been changed, if you are no longer able to make changes to settings yourself, or if firewall protection on your camera has been turned off.
- Look at the data flow. Your data flow will tell you how much internet data is being used when you’re online. If you notice any spikes, it could mean that data from your camera is being used without your knowledge.
Following these steps will certainly help you catch a hacker much quicker. However, a great way to stop them completely in their tracks is to have a good webcam cover so that they will not be able to see you should they break into your camera.
Here are some essential products we found that can prevent hackers from spying on you through your webcam.
This camera works for Mac and PC laptops and even works on iPhone cameras as well. Simply align it to your webcam, attach, and press firmly for 15 seconds to begin using it. It will not interfere with the function of your webcam or the indicator light. At the time of publishing, this product had over 43,000 global reviews on Amazon with 80% giving it five stars.
This cover is also compatible with Apple and PC products, and it comes in a pack of six, so you have plenty to use. It has an ultra-thin design, with a thickness of only 0.022 inches, and is made of flexible ABS material that is not fragile. It will not affect the closing of your laptop and scratch the laptop, and it is super easy to install. At the time of publishing, this product had over 8,900 global reviews with 67% giving it five stars.
If you’re looking for a more fun design for your webcam cover, this one does the trick. Each cover has a pair of eyes on it that will cover the webcam when you slide the cover closed. It is compatible with a variety of laptops and tablets and has an ultra-thin design at just 0.023 inches. It also has high-grade durable plastic and adheres with double-sided 3M tape. At the time of publishing, this product had over 2,000 global reviews with 64% giving it five stars.
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In addition to the webcam covers, it’s important to take steps to protect your privacy and security, such as using strong passwords, keeping your software updated, and using antivirus software.
Pro Tip: You can also physically cover your camera with a piece of tape when you’re not using it to prevent unauthorized access.
Have you used these webcam covers? Let us know how they work for you.
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