Can someone spy on me via my webcam?
In light of current events, we are increasingly asking ourselves this question: is it possible that people can take control of my webcam?In short, yes and not just your webcam.Why? Because the basis of any access to your equipment (phone, microphone, keyboard, webcam, etc.) is that hackers will first infect your computer with a malicious program (virus, spyware, malware). From that moment on, this malicious person will choose how to use your computer and its associated equipment, including the webcam.
What can a webcam hacker do?
Hack your webcam to take a picture of yourself.
Once your computer is infected, the hacker can take pictures at any time or at regular intervals. And as we will see in the facts below, this will often be used for voyeurism.It is also used on professional targets as will be presented in the following articles.In other cases, this practice is implemented to find out if you have left your computer unattended so that you can use it without being caught or to compare the person in the picture with the user accounts found on the computer.
Hack your webcam to spy on you live.
As you can guess, it is possible to follow your actions live... For some ill-intentioned people, this can be of particular interest."But if someone spies on me live, they will inevitably see a small light on the webcam! This statement is false because your system can sometimes enable/disable this light. There are online tutorials (quite complex) to disable the LED depending on the target computer. In some cases, the victim discovers that he/she is being observed thanks to this indicator and it is often already too late, but sometimes hackers manage to disable this little light.
Record the sound from the microphone of your webcam.
Another use of your webcam, this time not as a camera but only as a microphone and this is particularly useful in the field of attacks on companies. We will come back to this in the next articles.
Known examples of webcam hacking.
Here are a few cases among others of webcam hacking that have made some noise:
Miss Teen USA
This story made the front page of several American newspapers.This teenager's laptop had been infected by a malicious program for several months.Afterwards, the hacker contacted the victim to tell her that he had compromising pictures of her private life, with proof, and asked her to take pictures of herself and film herself in inappropriate positions under the threat of sharing the images already in his possession.The perpetrator was arrested by the FBI, who identified several other victims in this case.This example is one of many less publicized cases of webcam blackmail.Fans of the Black Mirror series were able to see with horror in the episode Shut up & Dance to what extent people can be manipulated when their image and dignity are threatened.
Access platform and search for webcams and IP cameras
There are platforms, some known (e.g. Shodan.io), others hidden, that reference access to webcams by IP, easily accessible since they are protected by a weak password such as admin/admin or admin/123456, to name a few.These programs "search" the Internet for these clumsy or unconfigured devices.Thus, a relatively large number of people can directly access your equipment without any effort to infect your computer or network.
This has led to numerous cases of domestic spying, where people have been able to follow the daily lives of thousands of people around the world thanks to their poorly protected surveillance cameras installed directly in the baby's room or in the living room. For example, a hacker had broadcast live on YouTube from hacked webcams.
Other cases of webcam hacking
To finish this non-exhaustive list, we can mention an Internet site (now closed) that referenced and made accessible several thousand cameras in 250 countries, including 2000 in France, 1500 in the Netherlands and 4500 in the United States.The victims of this site included stores, gymnasiums, town halls and, of course, domestic places (bedrooms, kitchen, living room).The following year, another hacker highlighted the lack of security in cameras and produced a manual, posted on a forum, explaining for the most novice how to access many cameras and webcams easily.Let's also mention this couple from Toronto (CA) who were filmed in their bed. The hacker then shared the images of their private life directly on their Facebook accounts.