Thursday, January 24, 2013

Webcam Peeping Toms – A Public Service Announcement

I never watch the news in the morning, but I must have needed to today, because there it was, an Internet “peeper’s” story that was enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

We use the Internet for everything these days. Problem is, so do less than admirable people – even criminals.

Most new model computers have built-in webcams, a nice feature, especially for people uploading videos, making web pages and working in a variety of capacities. Of course, when you’re not using your webcam, you’d think it would automatically be non-functional, right?

Guess again!

Think links…

Lots of them...

Innocent links to read an article or watch a music video on Facebook…

Happy links from a friend via email, sharing something informative, cute or fun they found on the web…

Think additives – you know, like minor viruses, undetected Trojans and little html codes, capable of taking your simple click, on a wee small bit of a detour…

Oh, sure, you’ll still land on the expected page, and be none-the-wiser for it.

In the meantime, your computer camera may have turned on, to make you the latest victim in an Internet hidden crime – hidden because most people have no idea they’re being spied on at all!

I won’t even get into the fact that I have kids who use the Internet as their life source for everything from school to socializing. Can’t begin to tell you how many new fashion trends there are these days, thanks to Pinterest, or how many secret codes there are on video games – way too many for any of us to count, I’m sure!

What to do about it…that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?

Protect Your Computer
  • First and foremost, cover your webcam when you personally are not using it.

>>>small piece of black tape
>>>duct tape on cover, with card stock or some other opaque material, flipping over the top – gotta love duct tape!

You get the idea – use your imagination. I didn’t have any black tape, which is why I came up with the duct tape and card stock remedy.
  • Next, don’t click on those links…go to the scroll bar and type in the simple address, as opposed to one sent to you or posted somewhere on the web.
  • Scan your computer and update your anti-virus protection.
  • Delete history, cookies, downloads etc.
  • Don’t save your passwords so sites open automatically. When you visit a site like Facebook, Blogger, Yahoo etc. type in your username and password each time you visit.

It’s a different world these days, a much different world. Hackers, creeps and criminals have ways of seeing the most intimate details of your life, without you ever knowing it at all. Privacy is not to be expected – it’s not even your right anymore!

If you’re on the Internet, what you say can and will be publicized – and now, it’s open season on what you do in the privacy of your own home, school, personal life, family life etc.

As for all those smart phones out there…

I don’t have one, so I can’t tell you what measures to take for your webcam security there. Think about it though…you may want to improvise and cover that little tiny dot when you’re not using it!

Wishing you safety on the Internet,

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons, Creative Attribution License, Dennis van Zuijlekóm, Cutaway Padlocks