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Can someone hijack your webcam to spy on you? Answer: Yes

From the mailbag: "I've heard a hacker could access my webcam and watch me in front of my computer. Could this really happen?"

The answer is "yes" -- it's technically possible for someone to do this, including this recent case of this happening -- though it's not very likely, statistically speaking.

Still, if you’re concerned about someone accessing your webcam to see (and hear) you through your computer, there are a few things you can do to minimize the odds of it happening.


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Gilligan's picture

Intel VPRO technology can.

It gives low level hardware access to your computer even when it is OFF. I'll find the link soon ...

EDIT: Here it is, with a video link at the end:

Google is government.

Reason why all my cams have stickers over them

and I only buy phones with one back-facing camera and place it cam down. Not falling for the whole xbox Kinect and Playstation Eye stuff Either. My iPad notebook case has a cam cover too so when it's closed it's dark.

I don't even get paranoid I just deal with it and keep living my life.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I own a computer business in TN

Anything is possible with electronics and computers in regards to hacking. Recent hi-profile viruses and hacks include the stuxnet and flame viruses, which reportedly involved tools like this in their toolkits before erasing entire hard drives to attempt to cover their tracks.

Some better steps if you are concerned with security and IT:

1. Install linux. Linux has a FRACTION of the viruses and security holes as it is open source. Only very sophisticated hackers will have the knowledge and expertise required to hack a linux operating system. Ubuntu is the easiest and most user friendly version of linux and is available for free on their website. It comes preinstalled with libreoffice and is a great alternative to microsoft office.

2. Use 128 or 256bit encryption on anything you are concerned with. 256 Bit encryption will likely not be easily breach-able for at least another decade. (This is why the CIA is building a massive data center in utah, to store encrypted information for a later time until it is decryptable)

3. Don't put what you are concerned with on an electronic device.

If you are required to use Windows for certain applications, run it in a virtual environment inside of a linux shell. Run only the applications required and do everything else in linux. Also run this on a seperate storage medium (separate hard drive) to isolate rootkits which embed themselves onto the MBR of the hard drive.

Common sense goes a long way in IT security. Change your password frequently, use a 10-15+ digit password (Length of the password is more important now than having symbols and caps, although both are good). NEVER save passwords for websites as it is easily breached and commonly stored in plain text. Don't bother with a windows login password as they are easily reset and usually easily decryptable. Use seperate passwords for websites than your email, in case one gets breached it contains the breach and still allows you to retrieve your password or change it. Don't click on advertisement's, use mozilla in private browsing mode or chrome in incognito mode. Don't install toolbars. Keep an active antivirus running, Kaspersky and Malwarebytes are great options and can be ran concurrently. Vipre or GFI are more advanced than kaspersky if one is completely paranoid.

Kinect is Worse - kind of.

Kinect is always on.

Think about this...

Your XBOX is off but you walk into the room and do the "wave" and your XBOX starts up.

The Messenger SKYPE API for Kinect scares me. It basically is always on and always recording. I think that is the only way they can pull off some of the tricks.

Now listen here...

...you tape over the video lens and then what? Webcam also has sound inputs so anyone then "technically" are able to hear you too, right?

Just saying, get sound proof tape? ;-)

Have blessed day.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand.
And those who have not heard shall understand.

I guess I better quit picking my nose then.



A while back I put a piece of black electrical tape over my webcam on my laptop (I never use it)... Done.

proverbs 20:15
There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.

One half a square inch of electrical tape

and you're ready to go. Same here.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!


Me three.....which is why im

Me three.....which is why im still waiting for manufacturers to clock on, and design a physical method, a sliding panel of some sorts for cameras, or better still, direct system control of functions that can be used for nefarious reasons, i.e. what a bill calling itself "cybersecurity" should be addressing, not the increase in surveilance

So, sometime never 

Known this for a while.

Known this for a while. Unless you are a "high pofile" type person or involved with 'something', its very doubtful its going to happen to you.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

meekandmild's picture

We are on the DP

Homeland security may be watching you and me.


I never use my webcam so I just have a small piece of black tape over the lens.

Turn off your computer

and go do something outside...

Resist the temptation to feed the trolls.

Like wave at the drones in

Like wave at the drones in the sky! :)

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Yes. Good old fashioned

Yes. Good old fashioned outdoor fun.

Resist the temptation to feed the trolls.

Yeah like

set up your drumset in the backyard and piss off all of your neighbors.

If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.


Exactly! Except for me would be my guitar amp...

Resist the temptation to feed the trolls.

I keep mine unplugged when I'm not using it.

If I had a laptop with it integrated in, I'd probably disable it through Device Manager when not in use.

Duct Tape

any color will do.

Ron Paul Was Right

Post-It Notes

Won't leave any messy residue. ;-)
("They" can still listen, Shhhhh.)