Is your computer watching you? A cybersecurity expert reveals the warning signs of a webcam or smartphone hack – and how to prevent bad actors from infiltrating devices
- A cybersecurity expert has revealed three warning signs of a hacked smartphone camera or webcam
- This includes the device’s battery draining faster than usual
- Experts said it only takes a little bit of code to access the cameras
A cybersecurity expert has revealed the signs that hackers are using your webcam or smartphone camera to spy on you.
Tove Marks from VPN Overview identified the top three signs to watch out for: a blackmailer calling you, a flashing webcam or camera light and a device battery draining faster than usual.
Marks explained that a hacker only needs to plant a small piece of malicious code to gain access to the cameras — and users may never know they’re under attack.
The data shows that one in two Americans is unaware that their webcam can be hacked.
Marks also shares tips on reducing the risk of an attack, such as using a camera cover and keeping your operating system up to date.
A cybersecurity expert has revealed three warning signs of a hacked phone or webcam, which include a blinking light on the camera, battery draining faster than normal, or a bad person calling you.
“If there is even the slightest gap in the security of your device, a hacker can slip through the cracks and widen that gap for full access,” Marks shared in a statement.
With so many types of malware out there today, you may never be able to tell where your viruses or spyware are coming from. Cybercrime is constantly evolving and you have to stay up to date with the latest developments to stay safe.
The first warning sign is a hacker or blackmailer contacting you, which Marks says is a “worst-case scenario.”
These bad actors claim to have sensitive photos of you and plan to post them 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 your webcam is blinking, Marks said, be aware that someone might be spying on you.
For smartphone users, the camera might have been hacked if they see the icon on the screen and the camera is not in use.
Of course, it may not be a hacker at all but rather an app running in the background that is causing this. If you want to be sure, Marx said, turn off all applications — in your task manager if necessary.
“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 may 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 battery of the device is draining faster than usual, it is caused by the camera consuming power because it is constantly on.
“If you’re using a laptop or smartphone that’s not connected to a charger, and someone hacks 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.
If you open the task manager, you will see two columns on the far right that display “Power consumption and 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.