Webcam Hacking – How To Protect Your Privacy

A whopping 350,000 webcams are bought each year in the UK. Popular brands include Logitech and Samsung. We buy cameras to protect our homes and businesses or to keep an eye on our children. On top of this, webcams usually come with every mobile phone and computer, but as the recently flagged webcam hacking scandal shows us – what we think is protecting our homes, businesses and children could actually be doing the opposite.

Most people are aware of just how dangerous the internet can be. Last month we saw both icloud and Snapchat being hacked, revealing thousands of private photographs of celebrities and non-celebrities alike. However, not quite as many people are aware that tech products like webcams, CCTV and baby monitors can also be hacked. So, you should make use of innovative perimeter security technologies from SixTech Systems to remove the possibility of hacking.

In recent news, Watchdog have flagged up a Russian website that has live feeds of homes and businesses across the world. The site has been hacking over 500 devices in the UK for the past month, from built-in cameras on baby monitors to security cameras in offices that have access to a multitude of personal information. They do this by using the default log-in credentials, which are freely available online for thousands of cameras. According to the BBC, the most commonly listed webcam to have been hacked is Foscam, followed by Linksys and Panasonic.

UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham was interviewed on BBC’s Radio 4 and urged the Russian website to take immediate action. He said:

“I’m very concerned about what this [website] shows and I want the Russians to take this down straight away … We now want to take very prompt action working with the Federal Trade Commission in the States to get this thing closed down. But the more important thing is to get the message out to consumers to take those security measures.”

The hacking of cameras, in any environment, could result in an unlimited amount of illegal activity, and you could be a target if you’re not vigilant. In this internet age we need to know how to protect ourselves. Here’s how you can start protecting your privacy against webcam hacks:

Change the default password

Usually, when you buy devices like webcams or computers, they come with default login passwords. These are usually very simple passwords, like ‘1234’ or ‘password’. It is very important that you change this password as soon as possible. As these are very easy to guess and for many devices, this information is accessible online. If your device does not have a password, then at the very least, you should create one.

Create a strong password

On some devices or programs it tells you just how strong or weak your new password is. Ideally, you want your password to be on the stronger side. You can do this by creating a password that has a mixture of numbers, upper and lower-case letters and characters, and ideally is something unrelated to you. Above all, make sure that your password can not be easily guessed.

Check security settings

You should always check security settings on all of your devices that are connected to the internet. You may have devices in your home that have webcams that are not being used. In that case you should try to turn off the remote viewing option. The manual that comes with your device should explain how. If you don’t want to read the manual or don’t have the manual, then you could always simply cover the lens.

Read the manual

I know it’s boring and laborious, and it’s understandable that you might just want to quickly set up your camera and start using it straight away, but reading the manual will help you to learn how to use your new device properly. It will also enable you to get the most out of it and most importantly, help you to optimize its security.

Following these simple routine procedures will help to keep you, your family or your business safe from hackers. We all need to remember the dangers and threats of living in an online era and to protect ourselves and our information. If we don’t, then we leave ourselves vulnerable, and you never know who could be watching you or your loved ones.

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