Your Webcam: a Big Security Risk?

From spyware to hackers, even sextortionists. What is this? Webcam exploitation. It’s becoming a major security risk. Some of the latest details in different news stories show that people are taking advantage of webcams, just as many had feared in the past.

Cyber extortion

Recent reports show that male computer users in are being extorted by women through the use of webcam shows. Women are coaxed in to stripping for a specific male, and then the female ask men to strip for them back. However, the females are recording the male strip show and then using it to threaten and extort the male. The threats include sharing it on YouTube, Facebook, and other related social media. In order for the female not to post it, the male must pay her.

This has been on the reversal as well, where men do the same to women when it comes to selling the taping of a live strip.

The rules with this type of situation include that you should always be wary of strangers whom befriend you on a social network, especially if showing a sudden romantic interest in you. Usually, after the sudden onset of romantic interest, the women invite the men (or the other way around) to a webcam show. Then, the extortion takes place.

Never put yourself in a compromising position when it comes to a webcam. Keep the clothes on, as much as it is an idea to take them off…don’t do it.

If the extortionist threatens and tries to get money from you, contact the police immediately to help remediate the situation. It may be a bit embarrassing for what the person may post on a social network, however, it’ll be better if the police handle it.

Don’t click on any links to payment systems, in case any extortion occurs, or in any case of any chat system. Untrusted links could lead to malicious software and/or scam.

Is someone spying on me?

Webcams are standard equipment now, and video chat is getting to become very popular. Whether it’s the photo-megacity online, or the video-sharing extravaganza, webcams are pretty popular. Have you ever stopped to think if anyone was watching you?

Many times there are indicator lights that supplement a webcam. These tell you if any current activity is detected within the webcam. However, there are techniques that hackers can use to disable the indicator light.

What do we do? Cover up the camera with some tape, put something in front of it, etc. Hackers can’t reach in through your computer and move it, can they? No way! Therefore, grab some electrical tape or some other very dark, opaque tape to cover up the camera.

If you have a USB webcam, that gets attached to the monitor or put onto the desk, it can simply be unplugged when not in use.

If it is a built-in webcam, then the tape above will do well, or if it’s a notebook computer – close the lid when not using.

Paranoia has existed for a long time, and it is no surprise issues happen with webcams.

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About Jay Pfoutz

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