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Device Security: Honey, why is my webcam light on?

Device Security: Honey, why is my webcam light on?

Webcams contain some of the most exploitable device security flaws.

Webcams have fundamentally changed the way we communicate. They’ve become a staple for personal calls on FaceTime and Skype, while also becoming a necessity for companies that do business across countries and for Twitch streamers who rely on income from their content. There’s no denying that they’ve become an integral part of daily life – and this isn’t going to change any time soon.

Are you sure your camera is off when you’re not actively using it?

However, did you ever wonder why Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg keeps tape over his computer’s built-in camera and microphone? It’s a valid query, thanks to the renewed debate about data privacy and the access that we give to our devices thanks to the ‘always-online’ culture that has developed worldwide. Webcams, as they currently exist, are one of the devices that are vulnerable to home network security leaks.

A large part of the reason for this are security loopholes that can be found in cameras. In March 2018, it was reported that dozens of Canon Inc's security cameras were hacked by malicious actors. They were able to make them uncontrollable.

A recent conversation with a camera company, whose devices we found loopholes in, revealed that a large part of the problem is the fact that it’s hard to retroactively fix security holes in existing hardware.

Some parts blocked for privacy reasons.

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to panic about your camera. You just need to be careful about how you handle your device.

Here are three things you can do to help keep your webcams safe:

  • If built in, turn it off via the hardware manager when you aren’t planning on using it.

  • If connected, disconnect it from USB ports when not in use.

  • Invest in a security solution that helps keep your network secure.

Remember, it isn’t about disconnecting completely. It’s about ensuring that you take the right steps to ensure that you don’t take unnecessary risks with your device security.

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