FBI director James Comey has recommended that for our own safety and security we cover our webcams with tape. This is already a common practice at the FBI and government offices. All such offices have a tiny lid the opens and closes the camera. People in the know have this sort of thing. High profile tech people like Mark Zuckerberg. This is something that has been an issue for years, so it is somewhat surprising to some that authorities are only now saying something about it. Back in 2010 a school got in trouble for secretly videoing its students from the school-issued laptops.
The school confessed that its software took unannounced pictures of its students every 15 minutes. Investigators discovered that the school had taken about 56,000 such photos of its students. This is just one of many incidents. It has become so common and so lucrative that there is now a huge sector of the black market devoted to compromised webcams and compromised webcam material. Of the two, access to a compromised webcam is by far the most popular. Buying such access it is very inexpensive and easy to do.
Common scams involve placing a link via email. That link is connected to the software that hacks into a webcam. When you clink on the link it invades yours. This type of scam is called phishing. An immensely popular such program among webcam hackers is Blackshades. In 2014, the FBI arrested webcam hackers from 12 countries. All of these hackers had been using Blackshades. Videoing and taking pictures via the webcam is only one of Blackshades features. It also allows hackers to gain a lot of control of computers, including gaining full access to the individual’s pictures and documents, recording of everything said via the keyboard, and getting all of the passwords of the individual.
The 2014 FBI sting uncovered black market files that showed that Blackshades had been bought by many thousands of hackers in more than 100 countries. This is not limited to laptops. Any device with a webcam can be hacked and pictures and videos taken of you without your knowing it. So get something on there, whether it be tape, a sticky note, or even a simple but specially made privacy sticker.