EXPERTS have warned about cybercriminals hacking into the cameras on your devices.
The process is known as camfecting – a combination of camera and infecting – and it can be used to discreetly spy on users, record videos of them, and then blackmail them.
"A camfecting attack is not hard to perform," said Adrianus Warmenhoven, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.
"To hijack your device camera, hackers need to slip remote-control malware into your laptop or smartphone," Warmenhoven explained.
This cybersecurity attack can be performed by simply sending infected emails to a user.
Once the victim opens the email or clicks on an attachment, they are unknowingly downloading the malware.
Thankfully, it’s easy to spot the warning signs and subsequently boost your device's camera security.
A number of signs can indicate a hacked camera, such as if your camera’s indicator light is constantly blinking even when you haven’t turned the camera on.
It could also mean that an app is running in the background, so you will need to check if you've accidentally left the camera on.
Another sign of a potential camfecting hacking is quicker battery drain on your device.
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Noticing random apps installed without your knowledge could also be a surefire sign of a camfecting hacking.
Lastly, if you notice your device constantly freezing and crashing, it could mean you have camfecting malware hidden in your device.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
To stay safe against a camfecting attack, users may feel compelled to place a piece of tape over their device's camera, but this isn't enough.
"Putting a piece of tape or a cam-cover over your device’s camera is perhaps the easiest and most reliable way to prevent someone from watching you through your computer camera and improve your home security," Warmenhoven said.
"However, by putting this physical blocker in place you simply restrict the attacker's view, but don't solve the actual issue. Keep in mind that the same malware that allows cybercriminals to access your camera also can provide access to your personal files, messages, and browsing history," he added.
Instead, users should install or run malware-detecting software to eliminate malicious apps.
They should also enable their device's firewall to protect its system by monitoring network traffic and blocking suspicious connections.
It's important to also be wary of phishing scammers who pretend to be tech support agents as they may try to load your device with remote access malware.
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