Five signs your webcam has been hacked and someone could be watching you
From FaceTime to Zoom calls, your webcam is an enormously useful bit of kit.
But it's also dangerous in the wrong hands. If hackers and cybercriminals manage to access your device, they can hijack your webcam and microphone in a matter of minutes and use it to spy on you.
Being spied on and recorded is hardly ideal when you're trying to watch Below Deck in your pants. But fortunately, there are a few ways to tell whether your recording equipment is being used without your consent.
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Here's some of the telltale signs your webcam or microphone is being used—so you know whether or not to cover your camera lens.
The biggest giveaway is undoubtedly the webcam indicator light which is present on most devices with a camera, including laptops.
If this light turns on while you're not actively using the webcam, it could mean that someone has access it externally. However, your webcam light can be turned off in your device settings, so it isn't the only sign that something is wrong. Ensuring that the webcam light is always activated will make it easier for you to tell if it is being used.
If you're an iPhone or Android user, there's a really easy way to tell if any apps are using your camera or microphone as these devices have a 'webcam light' of their own.
The iPhone status bar uses orange and green icons to indicate whether your camera or microphone are being used by an app.
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Meanwhile, Android phones have a nearly identical notification feature that appears in the top right-hand side of the device screen.
All you have to do is tap the indicator and a pop-up window will appear telling you exactly which apps are accessing your video and audio feeds at that time.
Besides the indicator light or icon, there are a few other giveaways. If you've noticed unusual apps on your desktop, it could be a sign that someone has been installing software on your device so they can access your camera.
Similarly, if your battery is draining quicker than usual or you notice some weird browser extensions, this could also be an indicator that your camera or microphone is being used unexpectedly.
Evan Fitzroy, Technical Specialist at Proxyrack, said: "The most important thing to monitor is any unusual that has begun appearing on your computer, for example, new programs or documents appearing unexpectedly and also any persistent pop-ups or warnings that might indicate external use of your device."
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