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Author Topic: Have you encountered webcam spying?  (Read 1859 times)

Joe Hone

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Have you encountered webcam spying?
« on: March 29, 2013, 10:40:23 AM »
I installed anti-keylogger software and it has alerted twice in the past 24 hours that 2 different websites were trying to turn on my webcam. Unfortunately, both of these were reputable sites, one of which I visit for my work and have an account with for product distribution. Is this real? Or a false alert? If true, this is pretty invasive.

app103

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 03:18:19 PM »
Would you by any chance be using Google's Chrome browser, Opera, or possibly viewing pages with Flash or Silverlight on it?

You might want to read these: 


My guess is that if it is a reputable site that seems to be doing it, and you haven't received anything in Chrome or Opera asking permission to do this, then perhaps it's through Flash (not a lot of sites using Silverlight except perhaps Netflix), and the culprit is ads or some other type of 3rd party provided Flash content.

If you are concerned about security or privacy, you probably should change your Flash privacy settings to either always ask or always deny. You can do that here.

And here is how to change your Silverlight settings.

If you have done all of this and your anti-keylogger software is still complaining about some site trying to access your webcam, the software is probably full of the stinky brown stuff, especially if it goes on to tell you that it blocked it. Some security software likes to scare users by reporting a ton of crap that it "blocks", in an effort to make you think it's doing something useful, so not only will you not think about uninstalling it, you might even think it's worth upgrading to a more expensive version. It's an effective marketing tactic that goes all the way back to software firewalls of the last century.

In any case, it's still a good idea to unplug external webcams when not in use and keep them capped. And not just for privacy and security. Keeping them capped also keeps the lens cleaner.


mwb1100

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 06:51:55 PM »
I might be a bit paranoid, but when they're not in use I cover any of my webcams with a post-it note (for the cameras embedded in an LCD bezel) or with some sort of 'hood' (for cameras that clip to a monitor or otherwise sit in a stand).  Not that I have a stand-alone webcam anymore.

This is not an inconvenience for me because I rarely use webcams anyway.

Tinman57

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 07:22:30 PM »
I might be a bit paranoid, but when they're not in use I cover any of my webcams with a post-it note (for the cameras embedded in an LCD bezel) or with some sort of 'hood' (for cameras that clip to a monitor or otherwise sit in a stand).  Not that I have a stand-alone webcam anymore.

This is not an inconvenience for me because I rarely use webcams anyway.


My old monitor had a built-in camera.  I disabled it in Device Manager since I didn't use it....

SeraphimLabs

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 08:11:55 PM »
The best fix for this is keep a piece of electrical tape covering the camera lens.

Then even if the camera turns on, it can't see anything unless you remove the tape and wipe the goo off the lens.

Renegade

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 08:13:55 PM »
A lot can be tilted - point it at the ceiling when you don't need it. (Doesn't solve the microphone problem though.)
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Tinman57

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Re: Have you encountered webcam spying?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 08:16:18 PM »
A lot can be tilted - point it at the ceiling when you don't need it. (Doesn't solve the microphone problem though.)

  I have it disabled in Device Manager too.  lol!  If I ever need it, just click on it and select "Enable This Device".....