Your BBB® wrote about this issue back in August of 2013, but more incidents are being reported of nanny cams, baby monitors, security cameras, and other IP cameras being hacked. With more consumers turning to network or Internet cameras, also called IP cameras, to keep an eye on their home, property, pets, and family, hackers continually search the Internet, looking for live feeds from unsecured wireless cameras.
In a report by NBC Today Show, computer expert Jim Strickley of Trace Security tells about one webcam predator who was spying on more than 200 women and blackmailing some of them; the predator was sentenced to six years in prison. In the same NBC Today report, Strickley demonstrated how easy it was to hack into the laptop of a family thousands of miles away. He sent the family an “innocent-looking e-card” with a virus. One of the daughters clicked on a link in the card, and Strickley loaded a Trojan horse on their computer. It took him three minutes, and once he gained access to the family’s laptop, he turned on the laptop’s webcam and was able to watch them eat dinner.
Here are some tips from computer security experts for protecting yourself from webcam predators:
1. Leave your laptop closed when you’re not using it. You can also put a bandaid or sticky note across the webcam lens, but avoid getting anything sticky on the lens.
2. Don’t click on suspicious attachments, and watch out for rogue apps.
3. Avoid suspicious sites offering free downloads of music, TV shows, or videos.
4. Use a firewall.
5. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software and keep it updated.
6. Don’t keep PCs with webcams in bedrooms.
7. Make sure your wireless connection is protected with a unique, long password.
8. Don’t IM someone you don’t know.
9. Be wary of people offering to remotely fix your computer.
10. Make sure your home wireless network uses security protocols; WPA2 is the strongest.
For more information you can trust on Internet safety, visit bbb.org/evansville.