Webcams are something most, if not everybody uses. Sure you may not use them everyday, but having them plugged into your PC all the time is not recommended.
This is because hackers or any other person with a vested interest can gain access to your PC without you knowing. After that they can look at everything you do thanks to your webcam. Listening isn’t far fetched either, as most webcams come with a built-in microphone as well. For that matter, a lot of people tape their webcams when not in use.
This, at leas, lets you avoid anyone trying to spy on you. Even Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg follows this advice:
Oversight for Mac
This is where Oversight comes in. Its a free tool that monitors your webcam. Ensures that no malicious process or service is accessing it. The tool is however limited to Macs only and not available for Windows users. There is malware made for Mac devices specifically for controlling your webcam and spying on people. Oversight looks for these malware constantly, making sure none of them are doing anything behind the scenes.
Another interesting thing about Oversight is that it was made by an NSA (National Security Agency, USA) employee named, Patrick Wardle.
The problem is that if some hacker targets Oversight itself then he or she may be able to bypass the tool completely. Meaning it’s still not completely safe to keep your webcams tapeless.
Download Oversight here.
Windows users, we got you covered too
Windows users are the majority here and will also be wondering if there’s a tool for it as well. They can follow these tips instead because apparently even something like Oversight can’t make your webcam truly secure.
- Use a strong and effective antivirus
A good anti-virus looks out for spyware and proactively removes threats before they can cause any harm or gain access to important info. In this case it may even stop the spyware from triggering at all, preventing unauthorized access to your webcam. Recent antivirus softwares even come with webcam monitoring feature to avoid such dangers.
- Tape or unplug your webcam
If you use a webcam on your pc, you most likely use an external webcam. You can just unplug the webcam when not in use to have peace of mind. For laptop users, they can cover the webcam on their laptops with a piece of tape. Make sure that you can’t see through the tape.
- Suspicious email and download links
This is the most common way a hacker gains access to your computer. Any suspicious email would be flagged by your email service provider like Gmail or Microsoft Outlook. Make sure that any email you open (yes just opening one can infect your pc as well) and only follow a link from your contacts or from a trusted source.
- Secure your wireless network
Make sure you use hybrid encryption for your Wi-Fi network and that your Wi-Fi password is not something as simple as 123456, your name or your birthday. Change your username and password settings for your router, it should not be “admin” for both username and password. This is the easiest way to bypass your network security.
- Use a VPN service
If you have doubts about privacy of your personal network, use a Virtual Private Network or VPN. Nowadays its easy to use a VPN, you just need a VPN software for that. You can use the latest version of Opera browser which has a built in VPN or download their app on your phone. Their app is free to use and offers a good connection, enough to watch videos at 720p.
Download Opera VPN from Google Playstore here.
Download Opera VPN from iTunes Appstore here.
Know of a good webcam privacy tool? Have better tips to avoid hackers? Sound off in the comments.