Understanding and Guarding Against Hacking

It should always be remembered that any electronic device that uses the Internet can be broken into. It is a worrying reminder, but one that is entirely true, especially in an age of widespread internet use.

Indeed, asides from greatly improving our everyday standards of living, the boom of the revolutionary ‘Internet of Things’ has also had its unintended consequences. Now that a wide range of everyday appliances (Not just computers) are hooked up to the internet, this has resulted in an almost infinite number of break-in entry points into home networks. Indeed, anyone could fall victim to a cybercrime.

The Process of Hacking

Importantly though, webcams cannot be hacked into directly. Webcam-hacking is only a facet of infiltrating a PC or laptop, which is most commonly done through the means of a Trojan virus. Once they’ve successfully infiltrated your computer, the intruder now has remote access over not only the webcam, but everything in the device: sensitive information included.

A Trojan infection relies on someone clicking an infected link. Thus, hackers naturally try to post these links in, not only emails, but also popular sites like YouTube. The Video posted is never the trap. Rather, hackers refer to a link in the description, where the viewer could win a prize, or download entertainment. However, this link contains a Trojan file, and as soon as the link is clicked, it then opens up the door for infection. In some cases, the virus’ are so uniquely designed that even antivirus programs cannot detect them.

Another very common way that hackers target individuals is through emails. These emails pretend to provide information or entertainment to the reader. Users click the files attached to the email, which then becomes the entry point for the virus to infect the host device. This widely used tactic is appropriately named ‘phishing,’ based on the fact that hackers are literally tying to ‘bait’ their victims into clicking the links provided.

How to Protect Yourself

The most obvious way to protect yourself from becoming the victim of a hack is to refrain from clicking on provided links that seem suspicious. This includes links provided via emails, text messages, and advertisements. Unexpected emails arriving from seemingly legitimate sources (such as from a bank or internet provider, for example) should also be treated with caution. In this case, it would be advisable to confirm the validity of the email by directly contacting the company. However, do not use the telephone number provided by the suspicious source. Independently search for the company’s number via their official website.

A rather simple, yet effective precaution against webcam hackers was proposed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; this entails simply covering your webcam lens with any type of non-transparent tape. Furthermore, your webcam can also be deactivated through clicking on the ‘Device Manager,’ and disabling the ‘Integrated Camera’ option.

Getting your webcam hacked is a scary possibility. However, there are just as many safety precautions which exist as there are security vulnerabilities. And in this day and age, it doesn’t take much effort to safeguard yourself against such vulnerabilities, such as through using strong passwords, and regularly updating your software as soon as possible.

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