Electronics For You
Webcams are extremely useful. These help you keep in touch with friends and family all around the world. Webcams are almost always attached to computers that are themselves connected to the Internet, thus making these easy prey for hackers.
Over the past few years there have been many reports of computers being hacked via a webcam. Hackers use software packages to hack webcams remotely without even needing to know how to code. In this article, we try to explain the dangers of having an Internet-connected Web camera staring at you all the time, and the practical steps that can be taken to protect yourself by disabling your webcam.
Use software settings on Windows laptops. If you do not use your webcam often, then you could disable it entirely through Windows Device Manager. To do this, go to Start Menu and search for Device Manager, then select the option that relates to Control Panel.
In the menu that appears, you will find Imaging Device, click on this and you should see your integrated webcam listed. To disable it, right-click on it and then select Disable option, or for a more thorough solution, click on Uninstall.
It should be noted that with the right kind of remote access, hackers could re-enable your webcam. Also, if you want to use your webcam you will have to install drivers and reverse the above process.
Cover the camera.This is a clever technique used by many renowned technical experts in the digital world, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. They use the simple solution of putting a bit of opaque tape over the cameras on their laptops.
Using this option, you can remove the tape whenever you want to use the camera, and know that when it is replaced, your privacy is ensured. However, do not want to use strong adhesive types like packing tapes as those could ruin your machine? Electrical tape is another option, and it is available in a wide range of colours and patterns.
One additional thing to address is the microphone on your computer, as this is usually linked to the camera. If you are unsure of its location, Google the model of your laptop for a manual so that you can find the small opening, then cover that with tape as well to avoid any audio snooping.
Unplug the external webcam. This is as easy as easy goes. If you use an external USB webcam, the solution is quite simple. When you are not using the device, simply unplug it from your computer. This will remove any possibility of hackers watching your day-to-day activities.
Unfortunately, there are a number of ways that miscreants can use to monitor you online, but at least with these solutions you can fight back against some of the easiest and possibly the most compromising attacks that can be attempted on your privacy.