A cybersecurity expert has revealed the signs that hackers are using your webcam or smartphone camera to spy on you.
Tove Marks of VPN Overview identified the top three signs to watch out for: a blackmailer is calling you, the webcam is blinking or the camera light is blinking, and the device’s battery is draining faster than usual.
Marks explained that the hacker only needs to plant a small piece of malicious code to access the cameras, and users may never know they are under attack.
Marks also shares tips for users on reducing the risk of an attack, such as using a camera cover and keeping your operating system up to date.
With so many types of malware out there, you may never be able to tell where the viruses or spyware are coming from.
Cybercrime is constantly evolving, so you must keep up with the latest developments to stay safe.
The first warning sign is a hacker or blackmailer contacting you, which Marks considers a “worst-case scenario”. These callers claim to have sensitive photos of you that they plan to post online if you don’t meet their demands.
Marks said the photos were likely taken by the hacker using your camera and the crime is considered sextortion.
Another warning sign is if you see the light on the camera blinking, most webcams have a small light to the left or right that turns on when the webcam is in use. iPhones indicate that the camera is in use with a green dot on the interface.
If the little light on the webcam is blinking, Marks said, be aware that someone might be spying on you.
For smartphone users, the camera may have been hacked if they see the icon on the screen and the camera is not in use.
Of course, it might not be a hacker at all, but rather an app running in the background that is causing this.
If you want to be sure, turn off all apps in your task manager if necessary, Marks said.
If the light is still on, even though you’re not using your webcam, it’s a good idea to run a malware scan to make sure your camera isn’t hacked.
Know that even if the light is off, you could be dealing with a hacked webcam. The webcam hacker may be able to turn off the light, or you may have turned it off yourself in the settings.
The last detail that you should pay attention to is if the device’s battery is draining faster than usual, this is caused by the camera consuming energy because it is constantly working.
“If you’re using a laptop or smartphone that’s not connected to a charger, and someone hacks into your webcam, you may notice a spike in battery usage,” Marks said.
A battery that is draining faster than normal can also be a sign of a webcam hack.
A good way to check how your battery power is being used is to open your task manager. And if you open the task manager, you’ll see two columns on the far right that show the power consumption of your programs over time.
Marks also shared tips on stopping hackers in their tracks, including using a good firewall and antivirus, not opening attachments in emails you don’t trust and securing your WiFi.