How to tell if your camera has been hacked and how to prevent it?

Blinking Red Light of Death for Cameras

The kind of cybercrime that involves hacking your webcam is known as camfecting. Violators might do it to blackmail you or sell your sensitive data to third parties. In this article, you’ll find useful tips on how to identify if you were camfected and how to avoid it.

Do you tape up the camera of your Mac? Or do you think it looks a bit paranoiac? Unfortunately, camfecting is quite a widespread type of cybercrime. The term “to camfect” means that an intruder activates your Mac’s camera without your knowledge and approval and starts spying on you. He also gets access to your private data, such as messengers, files, and folders.

To hack your camera, it’s enough to remotely plant malware into your Mac. After that, the violator might blackmail you, sell your sensitive information to third parties, steal your money, and ruin your reputation. To avoid this, you might stop using your camera and tape it. Or you can defend yourself from camfecting by installing efficient and affordable software. You’ll be able to enjoy video calls and conferences safely, and all the contents of your computer will remain protected as well. Below you may find the info on how to detect if you were camfected and how to avoid it.

Indicators of Camfect

These are the hints that might let you know of the camfect:

  1. The LED is blinking. It seems the camera is functioning, even though you didn’t turn it on. Don’t panic, this might happen because of a browser extension.
  2. Close the browser and then relaunch it. If the camera starts blinking as soon as you launch the browser, then an extension is to blame indeed. Try to enable all of your extensions one by one, to see which one affects the camera. If you can’t find the culprit, you might be camfected.
  3. Then run through all the apps that you have on your Mac, switching them on one by one and checking the behavior of the camera. Just as the extensions, apps might turn on your camera automatically.

If you find no connection between the apps, the extensions, and the camera, most likely you were camfected.

What to do, if you’re camfected

Open the Processes tab of the Task Manager and check which programs are running. Is the camera utility there? If not, it might be your default setting to launch the camera each time after a reboot. Try to restart your Mac and check whether the camera utility appears in the Processes tab.

Try to use the webcam yourself. If it’s hacked, it will notify you of an error saying the device is already being used. However, such a notification might pop up if an app is using your camera in the background. No matter how meticulously you check the apps manually, sometimes it’s too tricky to identify the culprit.

Then move to the folder where you normally save the downloads from your camera. If a violator got access to this folder, he might have changed its settings. Or he might have live-streamed your downloads to his computer, leaving no traces behind.

Update your antivirus to the latest version and run a deep scan. Put all the suspicious files under quarantine. If the problem persists, you were most likely camfected and need to speak to a professional.

How to prevent camfecting

If you don’t want to fall prey of this type of cybercrimes, you should adhere to the subsequent precautions:

  1. Enable your Mac’s inbuilt firewall. It will monitor your internet traffic and block suspicious connections.
  2. Install an antivirus that detects and neutralizes malware before it attempts at attacking you.
  3. Be careful with the links and messages you receive from unknown senders. Never download files from random sites.
  4. Stay suspicious of notifications. Cybercriminals often disguise themselves as software support teams. They tell you there is a problem with your device and ask you to click a particular link to fix it. This might be a trap.
  5. Always enable a VPN before connecting to a public Wi-Fi. It encrypts your data so that a violator can’t make use of it.

If you receive threats from strangers claiming they have camfected you, double-check this info. Do they have any proof, and print screens? This might be an extortion attempt based on a mere bluff.

As for taping your camera, it’s the easiest, the most affordable, and the most dependable way of protection. If you think tape looks too cheap, you might purchase a specially manufactured cover. However, this solution has two drawbacks. First, as soon as you start a video call, you expose yourself to risks. Second, tape or cover won’t prevent malware from getting inside your Mac. In case violators can’t get hold of your camera, they might misuse your other sensitive data.

Recommended software

There are so many types of protective software that you might be baffled by choice. Here are two tried and tested options that guarantee the highest level of security and evolve constantly to cope with new and advanced threats.

NordVPN creates an impenetrable tunnel for encrypted data and efficiently shields your Mac from malware or other threats. It offers military-grade protection without compromising on the speed of the connection. You may purchase NordVPN for $3.49 per month and use it for up to 6 devices.

MacKeeper is a multifunctional app that provides multi-layered security. It has an inbuilt antivirus, an ID theft guard, a stop ad, and an adware cleaner. It will keep you safe from phishing attacks and will warn you of any suspicious activities concerning your Mac. It runs powerful scans that identify suspicious content and filters out malware before it attacks your device. You may purchase MacKeeper for €4.95 per month with a 2-year plan. With shorter-term plans, the price will go a bit higher.

Conclusion

You might become a camfect victim if you share your private data on phishing sites, don’t use a firewall and an antivirus, and don’t enable VPN before connecting to public Wi-Fi. You’d better install up-to-date and efficient solutions like NordVPN or MacKeeper to keep you protected 24/7. Otherwise, you may tape your camera — but mind that this measure won’t prevent malware from sneaking into your computer. Hopefully, now you know what to do to enjoy your video calls and conferences safely.

Naomi Stone (@Naomi99Stone) is a business strategist, storyteller and global speaker who’s crazy about technical stuff and how things work. She’s a regular contributor to The Thrive Global and HubPages.

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