The recent revelations about a Russian website offering links to various live streaming web cameras and baby monitors have made people truly petrified of using such gadgets. However treacherous it might sound, the truth is that the best advice to all users who have suddenly decided to stop benefiting from the cool features of web cams is not to give them up altogether. Instead, the best thing for somebody to do is to learn as many details as possible on webcam safety. In this way, everyone will be able to enjoy the pros of these devices without worrying about their cons.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a blog post commenting on the vigilance of people, which is crucial towards empowering their defensive line against hacks and potential threats online. The post was written by Simon Rice, Group Manager for Technology, explaining the basic guidelines that everyone should follow on the subject.
We are going to dig a little deeper and try to fully comprehend what leads to security breaches in our webcams and how we can prevent webcam hacking effectively. It does not require any special knowledge or expertise to get thorough protection against the dangers of the web. So, let’s get started!
Ethical Hacking Training – Resources (InfoSec)
Why Access is Granted to Webcams
It is true that webcams are connected to the Internet, just like many other devices and even household appliances. The Internet of Things has been increasing in popularity and therefore we are directly connected to the web and have our devices monitored remotely, thanks to wireless Internet connections. Now, the most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that even hackers need your login information in order to reach out to your webcam.
It is saddening how many people continue using the default login info sent out by the manufacturers of each webcam. In this way, the hacker can easily circumvent the security layering beneath a commonly used password and username. It could be easier for people to be forced to change this login information after setting up, but unfortunately there is no such a necessity; this leads to many cases of webcams having poor login data and hackers being in a truly beneficial position.
Do I Need to Dispose of Webcams?
In pursuit of digital safety, it makes total sense why many people have thought of throwing their webcams away. Others have placed plaster or pieces of fabrics on the cameras that are installed on their laptops or other devices. However, you do not need to be that drastic for maintaining your peace of mind. It is truly advisable, though, that you level up your protection and think twice prior to engaging in something that may lead to your device being compromised. Below, we are going to have a closer look at the details that make a huge difference and result in having your webcam shielded properly.
Keep Your Webcam Safe Online
Be Considerate about Passwords: We have stated above that you need to change the default password and username of your webcam after it’s been shipped. Still, this does not automatically make you impenetrable for hackers. You need to be really considerate when it comes to choosing the proper password. Do not use passwords that can be easily guessed or passwords that include information linking back to you. Use strong passwords that differ from other accounts of yours. In addition, you should in no way reveal those passwords via email, SMS or of course on the phone. Last but not least, be sure to update your passwords on a regular basis and check for two-step authentication.
Set up Different User Accounts: If there are many people using a specific computer, set up different user accounts that lead to the respective data of each user. In this way, you eliminate the chances of having the whole computer compromised, and you rest assured that everyone has access only to the things that matter to them, without digging into other stuff.
Be Realistic: Do not place a webcam in your children’s bedroom and do not expose things that you wish to conceal to your webcam. As a result, even if somebody succeeds in accessing your webcam, no actual harm will be done. Check for any indication that your webcam is on, so as to identify the hacking promptly and initiate management of the damage.
Engage in Security Software: It is imperative that you have installed the latest version of your anti-virus software and any additional security software of value. Be sure to run regular scans to determine whether malware has been installed on your computer and requires your attention. Securing your webcam from hackers means that you are always alert to the latest threats in Trojan malware and other viruses and spyware. A firewall is also a must-have for you, in avoidance of any serious trouble.
Adjust Webcam Security Settings: As soon as you have received your webcam and are about to install it, read through the manual and get to the security settings of the product. This will allow you to see whether or not there is an option of turning remote viewing off. Upon doing so, you instantly make things more difficult for hackers who would otherwise be prompt to intercept your footage. There may be other cool security settings you can play with, so do not overlook this step.
Beware of Techies: Sometimes wolves come in sheep’s clothing and thus you need to be scholastic with techies offering their help to your computer. Their interest may be genuine, however, there is a chance that they are mainly interested in hacking your system and gaining remote access to your webcam. Is it worth the risk? We think not!
Avoid Suspicious Attachments and Links: Since your email is the most vulnerable and weakest link in the chain of the Internet, you ought to be wary of any attachment or link sent over to you. Especially when the email comes from an untrustworthy source, this is definitely a red flag for you to watch out for. Double check the sender and make sure that you only click on secured data.
If you follow the instructions displayed above and pay adequate attention toward enhancing your webcam safety, you will have no problem and you will still be able to reap the benefits of your precious gadgets. You do not have to deprive yourself of anything, as long as you consider the threats that come with it and you are determined to deal with them efficiently.