For those who feel a tinge of paranoia about the webcam built into their laptops comes a reason to worry there might be someone on the other end watching. Slate has an article up about the “uncanny ease of spying on someone” by hacking into their webcam.
The strategy for a malicious ne’er-do-well to take over your webcam is pretty much the same as a lot of hacks — get an unsuspecting mark to download a nefarious email attachment or click on a link that triggers a download that turns over control of your PC.
The problem of Peeping “webcam” Toms has become more real as built-in webcams have proliferated in modern computers. But even with the abundance of webcams, there’s no need to break out the black tape yet. From Slate:
Still, webcam espionage isn’t very common. Most scammers are interested in money, and video of someone’s slack-jawed mug isn’t going to yield much cash. “Most stuff you’d capture on a camera, they’ve already posted on Facebook,” says Kevin Haley of Symantec Security Response. “Even if you did have hundreds of hours of video and audio capturing someone’s conversations, it’s a lot harder to index and search than written information.
Plus, the article continues, webcams typically use a green light to indicate that you’re being recorded, which should afford you some level of comfort.
Personally, I pity anyone who hacks into my computer. The sight of a blogger at 6:00 a.m. eating cereal and looking for headlines isn’t exactly enticing.