What to know about webcam hackers

Have you seen news reports about foreign websites showing live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras — like nanny cams, baby monitors, and security cameras — in the U.S. and around the world? It’s creepy stuff, but there are steps you can take to protect your camera from prying eyes.

If you’re shopping for an internet protocol (IP) camera, look for security features that will help protect your privacy. You want a camera that encrypts the data it sends. Make sure both the camera and your home wireless network use security protocols. WPA2 is the strongest.

Once you’ve bought your IP camera, check its security settings and keep its software up-to-date. If you bought a camera that encrypts data — and I hope you did — turn this feature on.

Hackers are familiar with common passwords, so be sure to change the IP camera’s default password to a password that’s hard to guess. And check to make sure the login page for your camera has a URL that begins with https.

Finally, review the FTC’s article for more tips about using webcams safely.

Comments

Thank you for your comments.. I'm very uniformed when it comes to the Internet.

Do not permit sales of cameras with a URL which does not begin with https. Seize such cameras and ban manufacturers of such cameras

Yes we as consumers NEED the government to protect us from our own ignorance of technology. What do you think we are rocket surgeons?

scientists not surgeon.. nobodys a rockey surgeon

How can I encrypt the webcam that is built into my laptop?

you can't i'm looking at you right now

Not funny Richard. This is serious business. Move along, nothing to see here, and find a comedy zone website that will welcome your silliness.

I have a Post It over my Camera that's built in my Laptop

Me too Sir David..

I have had a post-it note stuck over my webcam lens for over 3 years.
I never trusted the things in the first place !!

Do we need to Encrypt the webcams that are built into our computers? Can the Gov or police tap into our webcams that are built into our computers? Even if they aren't turned on by us.

Yes, they can do that, Kryc. But there's an easy, surefire solution: Place an adhesive bandage or other opaque item over your webcam's lens. That way, no matter who grabs control of your webcam via the Internet, they'll see NOTHING.

The security problems discussed in this blog post are specific to IP cameras -- that is, cameras that connect directly to the internet wihtout a laptop or computer.

Your laptop's built-in webcam connects to the internet using a program on your computer (like Skype or FaceTime). Before using one of these applications, you'll want to research the program's security settings.

In addition, be sure to secure your home wireless network.

This is meant for cameras connected wirelessly to a monitor or computer, not a wired camera. An ip camera is most often used for security.

i like it

feel safe now

I'd theft is often caused by a bank giving out personnel info like access federal credit union

Webcams and encryption features. Sounds Good!

What about the cameras on our cellular telephones?

Please be careful, I am dealing with a scary situation where the perpetrators have actually accessed my cell phone and watch the video feed as well as monitor the camera pictures. They have used the same phone to gain access to and ruin 2 smart tvs, my satellite reciever and stole the signal so it beams to their own tv,gained access to accounts and subscriptions and took control over them and locked me out, and a day old $798 Collectors Edition Xbox One. I'm a nervous wreck and I have tried everything yet I still cannot get it right. I made a report with the FBI and FCC now as well as Google, Verizon, and Directv. Be careful with your wireless devices, they get in by Bluetooth or through wireless tethering where their device links to your open device especially if its Samsung and uses software called Opensource software to rewrite your operating system replacing it with a scam version that emulates the original one but transmits your location, passwords, emails, texts, personal information, and even app passwords and access. I had 500+ contacts and 700+ pictures as well as 500+ mp3s stolen and I have no way to ever get that stuff back. They have wiped my cloud of 17 years of memories and backed up malicious files so even a replacement phone will be infected after activation. I don't know what to do, please contact me if you are a professional and have had a similar problem or a law enforcement agent with a background in computer forensics. I'm deadset on catching these people and will not be defeated. Keep your wifi device encrypted, phone OFF of Bluetooth and away from all unknown networks as well as a firewall and quality Antivirus protection that covers malware protection. Do NOT make the same mistake of thinking phone's are not harmful or marketing of antivirus for a phone is unnecessary and just a money making scheme. I trusted Verizon with just the VZ defender and I have lost everything

Scott, I too am going through the exact same cyber stalking that you are. I know who my stalkers are. They are former employers, and when I began to discover unethical practices in the company following a promotion, someone within the company took remote access of my phone. They have used extensions to redirect all of my web searches to show websites that are either dark and threatening in nature, or personal and specific to private areas of my life. Any time I tried to make trusted superiors in the company aware of my dilemma, they responded with a smirk and commented " well I don't know who you think is going to help you". I have been told that the company is lost in the cloud, and will never get caught. I too issued a complaint with FEC. I believe that my company is part of a very large network and the harassment is not just online but seems to also be in everyday life. After I left that company, and took a new job in the same field, I am again experiencing problems identical to the ones at the last job. There really doesn't seem to be any hope for me, my family and friends think I' m using drugs or having a mental breakdown because my claims are so bizarre to them. The people that know exactly what is going on are claiming that they know nothing at all, and will even cosign the mental illness rhetoric about me. My name is dirt as they have spread malicious rumors about me. And to think this all started because I worked hard to make this company money through sales and marketing, and was promoted only because the company believed I was in on their scam with them. I have even been told that nobody could do the job as effectively as I did, without being aware of the back end operations of the company. When they discovered I truly was naive to their practices, I be AME public enemy #1. Like you Scott, I am a wreck. Bit I refuse to allow this to bring me down. I refuse to be their victim forever and I am fighting back at any cost to my safety. I am aware that my keystrokes are being read as I type this, that the camera on this phone is most likely recording me, and I'm afraid its still not going to keep me from exposing the dirty truth of murican justice. Scott, if you don't fight back, those who were too weak to fight and ended their lives as a result of cyber bullying/ harassment_ stalking will never be heard. We must inform the American people that this is very real, very easy to do, and is also increasing to a whole new level of criminal and gang activity previously unthought of. The worst part of it, is the astonishing amount of respected and influential people in my community, from churches to the police department, who are either involved init or looking the other way and allowing me and God only knows who else, to suffer completely alone. I just have to remember that my God is still bigger then this monster that has become my reality. God bless you Scott. * PS. I have tried numerous times to correctly enter the captcha text but it us too distorted for me to know exactly what each letter is.Another direct result of my stalkers skill and talented. Their mothers must be so proud of them. (Yes, sarcasm. I'm pissed.)

Teresa and Scott, I too am living in the horror that is cyber stalking. Malicious rumors have ruined my name, just like you Teresa I am seriously upset. But I do not know where its coming from. Have no proof except my life has become someone's favorite "show". This is not freedom and its an invasion pure and simple I am not respected at work or in my town as though this is all some joke! WE have laws but mob rules and school yard rules are the norm. They are skilled and talented at using their devices and acting innocent. And yes officialdom just looks the other way or they tell me its just me that I am weird with no sense of humor and paranoid. You are not alone but I am just angry because I do not know how to stop this. The worst part yes, to be treated as some sort of criminal. I agree that it has risen to a whole new level of gang activity they seem amused at perhaps someone losing their peace and taking their lives.

there are new laws daily and growing awareness, get any bit of evidence you can and go lawyer shopping, even if you have no money try to find lawyers who specialize in this outside of your home town and make appts to find out if you have a case and keep looking...someone will take your case maybe pro bono to set a precedent...make a clear case for the hardship. good luck don't let it get you down and be confident even if you don't feel it..half the battle is psychological

Scott, I know you posted a year ago but I was wondering if you ever found any way of getting to a resolution because the exact same thing is happening to me right now!! It is so frustrating and people are always in disbelief or love to tell you that can't happen or there's no way that our product can be hacked - especially Apple people - so far I have had my hotmail account of 20 years that's attached to everything taken over and even though I change the password the hackers still get it because they have only added me as a user to my own account and somehow they are the primary account owner with shared access they've created some Xbox live act ( I've never played Xbox in my life- I'm a 40 year old woman) and attached that and a Skype account to an all encompassing Microsoft live account and then also merged my recovery email account which was yahoo to it and my Facebook account twitter account Instagram account and LinkedIn account . They took over my home wireless network and destroyed my HP desktop computer, MacBook , LG G Pad Android Tablet, IPhone 5 and took over my Comcast account and were using my home phone service by forwarding calls to and from my home phone to a Comcast voice to go app and using that on one of their devices to make calls and they took over my apple id's and iCloud and iTunes accounts and gmail account and google play account and my Sharp 70 inch 3D LCD TV- then when I disconnected my home phone and got all new Comcast equipment and ditched the wifi all together and all my old devices and bought a new iPad and new iPhone and started a new apple I'd from scratch they somehow got into that too and I have just about had it - what are they gaining - wtf do they want - seriously I want to hunt these people down and torrure them - its hell

Hi ... Mellie. I am having the same issues with the same things you are . Hotmail , Comcast , Apple . I am terrified and I have a baby and my monitor has been hacked also . I don't even know where to start . It has interrupted my life in such a scary way . I also just do not understand what these people want . This is the first I have said about it . I'm around the same age as well . It was just a few days ago that I realized how bad it has all become . It's scary no matter who you are for sure . I just fear for my safety and my babies safety . If you have found anything out...PLEASE share !

Instead of IP cameras, get a secure cloud camera -

Be careful when downloading an APP on to your mobile phone that requires access to your camera... even though the APP has nothing to do with taking pictures or recording video.

Most of my computer time is work-related but - just to be on the safe-side - I keep a piece of blue painter's tape over my personal computer's camera. I only use "webcams" when I'm doing a work-related meeting/presentation and I only use the business-issued laptop for that. If I want to post anything "public", I put it on Facebook - never real-time photos or video. I can't think of anything so important to visually share at the moment it is happening that is worth the potential issues associated with a security breach.

This is why I miss the phone on the kitchen wall with the twisted cord!! I am so very sorry for you all! This is really scary! To be or not to be?? Tech savvy .. That is? :-(

REALLY PEOPLE THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO CHECK IF PEOPLE HAVE .SPYWARE ,MALWARE,YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE TO REVERSE TRACK YOUR YOUR info everything they do also routes through an ip address go strait up there back orifice .also delete your affected email addresses .terminate contracts of all affected accounts .you say your dish network is hacked .quit paying the bill .toss your affected phone .get a new phone switch providers you can keep your number and move it to new provider be sure to change passwords .use two stage sign in on all you're .example when you sign into Google acct you have to put in me m e password .and after you do hat correctly you are sent a 6 number/letter code via text message and have to enter that Woodbridge you or anyone can gain access called 2 step verification.download some good spiff apps and instead of letting them get to you join them .can't beat them join them

I have been a victim recently which incident occurred on the 5/11/15. I was searching for a car on craigslist when i saw a Toyota 4 runner priced for $1600. I contacted the individual, but did not pick up the call. Later the individual sent me a text message stating the her name is Sarah Brown and she was sorry that she did not pick up my call because she was at work and that she was not allowed to receive calls at work. After that she send me the pictures of the truck and gave reasons why she is selling the vehicle. I told her that i am interested in the van so she told that the van is in the care of E bay and that they will have to take it from there , So every Email they send to me had E bay Logo. SO then i gave them my name and address and they provided an account number to wire the money which i did

Unfortunately, scammers can copy a company logo and use that to make it seem like a sale is safe.

When you're shopping online, don't buy something expensive if you haven't seen the item and met the person, and confirmed that both are legitimate. Also, the surest sign of a scam is when someone asks you to wire money before you've seen the item. Wiring money is like sending cash; once it's gone you can't get it back. 

You can file a complaint about this with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also file a complaint with your state Attorney General’s office.

Something needs to be done about hacking

Read more info or ask carefully in forum before purchasing products can prevent those awful things.

Hackers will always find new exploits to find ways around encryption.

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.