Should I Cover Up My Webcam When I’m Not Using It?

This is one of those “rules of thumb” that have come into existence in recent years that, in my opinion, is totally overblown.

Sadly, webcam manufacturers are feeding the paranoia by providing easy-to-use lens covers with their products. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than it does increase the apparent need for the practice (and perhaps the price).

Cover the webcam if you must, but you can probably guess what I’m about to say.

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Could a Hacked Computer Record My Skype Video Calls?

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Hi, Leo. If I’m sure that a hacker is controlling my computer and I was online in my Skype account, in a video call to a friend. Could hackers then see and save a video message during the recording? In other words, can a hacker see my screen and record my video call with my friends and show our faces at the same time?

While this does seem like a very specific scenario and a very specific concern, I want to address it because it’s a fine example of what a lot of people just don’t seem to realize, something that’s very important about the nature of hacking, malware, and compromised machines.

To directly answer your question, yes, absolutely. If your machine has been hacked into or is compromised in some way, then a hacker could certainly record your Skype video calls.

But the problem here is that it’s much, much worse than that.

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Should I cover my webcam when not in use?

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Hello, Leo. Tonight on Dutch TV news, there was a warning that hackers can use your webcam although you do not actually use the camera yourself. It’s recommended that the lens should be blinded by means of a sticker or something similar. What’s your opinion on this?

My opinion is that this is another case of everybody getting all excited about one very specific issue.

The problem here is really much, much larger and a lot less newsworthy than getting everyone excited about their webcam. It’s essentially sensationalistic journalism.

You can cover your lens if you want to, but that really, really misses the point.

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How do webcams get hacked?

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I’ve heard that computers that have webcams installed can get hacked. My question is how do hackers get access? Shouldn’t I be able to see the webcam software running on my screen? How can I tell if the webcam has been hacked and how do I avoid it?

A webcam hack is nothing special. It’s just plain-old malware.

Some malware acts as spam-sending zombies. Other malware actually performs data destruction. Still other malware might sniff your keystrokes. This malware turns on your webcam and does something with what it sees.

Let’s look at how this works and what you can do.

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