It sure is fun to Skype with friends online or browse through other video chat websites when you are bored, but what if you are having an intimate moment with someone or browsing certain websites and you do not want anyone to know? Well too bad! Not only might the NSA be watching your dirty actions, but so might hackers through your webcam!
Due to the advancements of technology, people are able to mess around with Flash installed on computers and use CSS/HTML tricks to access a user’s webcam. This process is called clickjacking, which according to Oxford dictionaries, means the following: “the malicious practice of manipulating a website user’s activity by concealing hyperlinks beneath legitimate clickable content, thereby causing the user to perform actions of which they are unaware”. An example of such action is the hacking of Cassidy Wolf (Miss Teen USA). Cassidy was supposedly spied on by a hacker through her webcam, he threatened to release nude pictures if she did not abide by his commands. More information on this incident can be found in the article titled “Webcam Spying Goes Mainstream as Miss Teen USA Describes Hack.” Another example includes that of a sex offender named Mark Wayne Miller who had created a fake online video chatting profile in order to trick under-age girls into performing sexual activities. He would also hack into their webcams and record them without them or family members knowing. As stated in the article, “He distributed some of the recorded Webcam footage to others”; this of course might lead to images of the underage girls ending up on porn or other related sites.
As you can see by the couple of examples posted, online security is crucial. The world was in shock when Edward Snowden released files that support the notion that the NSA has been and still is spying on U.S citizens and other countries worldwide. Yet, many people are unaware that their webcams can be easily hacked and images transferred to sites and other people. The risks of this happening can be reduced by purchasing a strong anti-virus program, having firewall enabled, having a secured network and disconnecting webcams if possible, if not, by covering them with tape.
Kumparak, Greg. “Smile! Hackers Can Silently Access Your Webcam Right Through The Browser (Again).” TechCrunch RSS. TechCrunch, 13 June 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Anderson, Nate. “ArsTechnica.” Ars Technica. Arstechnica, 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Gaudin, Sharon. “InformationWeek: The Business Value of Technology.” InformationWeek. InformationWeek, 12 July 2007. Web. 17 Sept. 2013