Most people are familiar with the webcam on their desktop computers or laptops, you can use it to video chat or record yourself. But professionals say, cybercriminals have the ability to hack into your webcam and see what you’re doing from anywhere in the world.
“When a cyber criminal takes over your computer, they’ll take that webcam and they’ll actually sell them to people on online forums,” Brandon Keath, cybersecurity lead at Appalachia Technologies.
There are different ways your computer’s webcam can be hacked with malicious malware. “Visiting a bad link, downloading an unknown file, opening a word document that’s untrusted,” said Keath. Some of the footage that cybercriminals get their hands on is used and sold on the black market. Protecting those victims is a reason Keath says he works in cybersecurity.
“It can be really sickening to think there are criminals out there selling these webcams of potential minors to each other. Part of the reason why I do what I do is to fight against those threats every day,” Keath said.
Not only making sure you’re cautious when clicking around online, there are other ways to protect your webcam from these criminals. You can purchase a webcam cover that goes over the camera part of your computer. When you aren’t using your webcam you can cover it to keep hackers out.