If you are one of the millions of people in the world who received a new webcam this past season you better learn how to protect yourself from it. The dangers of owning a webcam are more apparent than ever, and you do not want to be the next victim.
People have had their entire lives ruined because of footage taken from a webcam. Often this footage is taken intentionally, and the individual may not be completely privy to the consequences, other times the footage is stolen by hackers, who use the information to blackmail their unsuspecting victims.
Don't let this horrible new trend ruin your life.
Online webcam spies
The new trend, which cybersecurity expert Candid Wueest calls "One of the ugliest types of cyberbullying we've seen," involves hackers infiltrating the live webcam feed of unsuspecting internet users and spying on their daily activities.
When these online "peeping toms" catch some embarrassing behavior, or perhaps some personal information, they promptly brag about it online and often blackmail victims over fear of posting the footage to social media.
Certain online forums refer to this behavior as "Rating," and hackers have all kinds of distorted moral justifications for doing it. Everything from "a valuable learning experience for the victim," to "it's their fault for downloading 'xyz' program." One thing should be clear here, an online criminal inventing a moral justification for their crime does not reduce its tragic effects on their victims.
Avoiding the trap
There is a very simple way to avoid hackers remotely spying on you through your camera.
Cover the lens.
It seems too simple (and it is) but no matter how sophisticated a hacker may be, they cannot remove a piece of tape from the lens of your camera. You don't need to just take my word for it, big names like Mark Zuckerberg and former FBI director James Comey have been known to hide their devices' cameras in this same way.
If it is a good enough security measure for an FBI Director and a multi-billionaire, it is good enough for me.