Front cam spying

You have stuck a tape or put on a slider to block your laptop's front facing camera, isn't it?

But why not to your smartphone's camera which is always staring at your face!?

Webcam paranoia is likely to be only the first of many awakenings as consumers bring more devices into their lives that can be turned into unwitting spies .

Do you also know that your home automation products like Google Home, Amazon Alexa are always listening to your chatter?( The companies denies the allegations though..)

So, let us see how this can possibly affect our lives and how we can keep our privacy intact.

Instances of Webcam spying

Let us try and illustrate few examples of these immoral acts.

  • Private pictures of women leaked online

RAT(Remote Administration Tool) operators have nearly complete control over the computers they infect; they can (and do) browse people's private pictures in search of lewd images to share with each other online. They even have strategies for watching where women store the photos most likely to be compromising.

This threat can be extended in cases men too. No human, irrespective of gender, would want some hacker at another corner of the world looking at and/or leaking intimate or private moments of their life.

These images or videos maybe streamed online on various sites which would definitely damage the persona of the individual.

  • Various intelligency agencies intercepting images

Britain’s surveillance agency GHCQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery, including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communicatifrom ons, more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

  • Schools involving in webcam spying scandal

A suburban Philadelphia school district remotely activates the cameras in school-provided laptops to spy on students in their homes, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleged.

According to the lawsuit filed by a high school student and his parents, the Lower Merion School District of Ardmore, Pa. has spied on students and families by "indiscriminate use of and ability to remotely activate the webcams incorporated into each laptop issued to students by the School District."

  • Baby monitor hacked

Security experts have warned parents to change the default password on their baby monitor cameras after new reports of hackers accessing the cameras.

The internet erupted after the Mail reported the case of Heather and Adam Schreck from Ohio, who said their wireless baby camera was hacked.

The Schrecks said they woke to the sound of a man screaming "wake up baby" after he had been remotely watching their child asleep in her cot.

The couple said their Foscam IP camera - designed to keep tabs on their baby in case of emergency - had been accessed.

  • Private conversation between a couple recorded and emailed

Here is a link where you can read about a private conversation between a husband and wife in Portland was recorded by Alexa and landing up in the e-mail inbox of the husband's colleague:

How does it spread?

Webcam spy software spreads through freeware, spam emails with infected attachments, or links to fake websites. Malicious executable files can be combined with

legitimate software to install malware in the background, without your input or your knowledge.

Once the Trojan is on your PC, your cyber stalker can see what you do online, read messages, capture your screen and keystrokes, and take full control of your computer, including your camera. But the little green light will warn you of any suspicious webcam activity, right? Wrong. Hackers can turn them off, so you may never realize you’re being watched.

So we know that cameras can give snoopers a look into your private life.

What can you do to stop webcam spies?

  • Cover your webcam, or disable it if you don’t use it - it’s been reported that even Faceboo CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former FBI director James Comey put tape over theirs.

  • Always use an up-to-date antivirus, and make sure your firewall is enabled

  • Only use your cameras over a secure internet connection

  • Keep your operating system, browser, and software up to date

  • Don’t click on suspicious links and don’t chat with strangers online

  • Be wary of fake emails which appear to be sent from trusted sources and ask you to download attachments, click on a link, or disclose any personal details.

Protect all your cameras

  • Your smartphone needs protection too, so set up a secure pass-code, use an antivirus, and keep your software up to date

  • If you have a surveillance system, replace the default password with a secure one.

Webcams are the new attack vector...!

So, let us save ourselves from it and protect our privacy!

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