How can I tell if my webcam is broken? –

During the pandemic, webcams became a particularly important tool as we worked and learned remotely. Although they are extremely useful, their use is also high risk. How do you know if our camera is broken? How can I prevent a webcam from being hacked? ESET experts about it.

Also read:

Lenovo laptops with security vulnerabilities

How to break a webcam?

Attackers often have an advantage over users. Underground cybercriminals offer them all the necessary tools and know-how to effectively attack virtually anyone. One such tool is the Remote Access Trojan (RAT). This is a special type of malware that allows you to remotely control the victim’s device. Thanks to it, criminals can turn on the webcam and sometimes turn off the light of the recording signal. This, in turn, allows them to record everything in front of the camera lens and then upload the saved video files to each other.

It should be noted that this type of software has a different function, ie it allows criminals to provide passwords, bank information, etc. can be used to record keystrokes that allow theft. RAT Trojan infection can be carried out through instant messaging and a link or malicious attachment in emails or phishing messages sent through social media, says Kamil Sadkovsky, ESET’s chief cybersecurity specialist.


How can I tell if my webcam is broken?

If the light comes on even when the camera is not in use, this may indicate that the device has been stolen.

Failure to update devices as a gateway for cybercriminals

Security vulnerabilities are another way for hackers to hijack webcams to compromise your privacy. Any man-made program can contain errors that can be used by criminals. Security researchers are in a constant race to find all kinds of system and software flaws before they are exploited by cybercriminals. An example of such a prevention is the recent case of Apple, which paid a researcher more than $ 100,000. dollars, for the detection of a vulnerability in the macOS system that could allow intrusion into the device’s webcam.

The key to maintaining maximum security is to ensure that our devices have the most up-to-date software. Otherwise, we expose ourselves to a number of different types of threats, which can lead to breaches of confidentiality or, worse, data theft, says Kamil Sadkowski. – The same principle applies to all monitoring devices, such as home monitoring, baby monitors or other devices that are becoming increasingly part of the smart home. Although they are designed to keep us and our loved ones safe, they can be abducted and used against us by attackers. The ESET expert adds that this can be done by exploiting device vulnerabilities, guessing passwords, or by using automated software that uses a leaked login credential and verifies that the same passwords are used on other accounts.

How do you know if our camera is broken?

Here are some signs that your webcam has been stolen by cybercriminals:

  • The camera indicator light is on Although some hackers can hide their attacks by turning off the camera light, this is not always the case. If the light comes on even when the camera is not in use, this may indicate that the device has been stolen.
  • Strange files on your computer – If the attacker gained access to the webcam, the device may contain recording files. In this case, it’s a good idea to look at the files in the document and video directories on your hard drive.
  • There are some unusual programs in the system – One of the most common methods of remote recording of criminals with a webcam is through the RAT Trojan. To find it, run a malware scan and see if it notifies you of a program that should not be on your computer or device.
  • Your settings have been changed – Another thing that malware usually does, such as RAT, is to interfere with a security program installed on your computer or operating system to make malware easier to run. It is worth watching to see if any of the security features are disabled.

How can I prevent a webcam from being hacked?

Protecting against unauthorized use of your webcam requires vigilance and best security practices. Make sure all accounts are protected with a strong and unique password, as well as multi-factor authentication. Under no circumstances should you click on links in messages from unknown senders. The ESET expert recommends that the easiest way to prevent unauthorized recording of everything you do in front of your computer is to cover the camera lens when not in use. – At the same time, make sure that your computer, mobile device and smart home devices have the latest software and are equipped with anti-malware solutions. One such solution is ESET Internet Security, which prevents applications (especially unwanted ones) from entering your device’s camera without your consent. This type of security and other protective features of ESET antivirus can be tested completely free of charge for 30 days, he added.

What if someone who claims to have hacked your webcam contacts you?

Fraudsters sometimes use information obtained from previous security breaches, such as email addresses and passwords, as “evidence” that they have gained access to a potential victim’s device and webcam. Then, in exchange for not publishing the alleged photos or videos, they try to deceive the user to send money or pay a ransom in cryptocurrencies. In such a situation, it is worth behaving coldly, read the tips above, and if there is no serious evidence that the fraudsters really have any material, ignore the messages from them – summarizes Kamil Sadkovsky from ESET.

Leave a Comment