How do I know if I am being spied on by the camera?

Spy Camara

Just like any other technological device, webcams are prone to hacking, which can lead to an unprecedented and serious privacy breach. Many hackers spy through the webcam or mobile phone, in order to extort money.   

Think for a moment that an unknown person illegally accesses and takes control of your webcam, without your knowledge. In this way, it will effortlessly spy on you and the people around you. And, depending on the value of the stolen videos, there can be serious repercussions on your part.

The fact that it hasn’t happened to you yet shouldn’t be a reason for you to imagine that you’re safe. The art of criminals recording video footage and then extorting money from people is not an idle Hollywood cliché; it happens to real people. 

This is why you should be very careful whenever you see suspicious changes on your camera.

How do hackers spy through the camera?

It doesn’t take much for a webcam hacker to take control of your webcam; all you need is to design malware that hijacks a webcam, remotely installs it on your computer, and then, without your knowledge, starts taking videos and pictures of you from a remote location. 

If the hacker is interested in your personal information, such as the files stored on the computer and your usual browsing history, the malware will also help them to achieve this. We explain this better in our post How to Spy on Someone Through Their Phone Camera.

That said, you shouldn’t panic! There are ways to tell if a hacker is watching you on camera. Also, it is not easy for anyone to control your webcam remotely without you noticing that something is wrong. 

Once you are aware of your vulnerability, the closer you will be too convincing yourself to use a virtual private network or VPN to keep hackers at bay.

How to know if I am being spied on by the PC webcam

Let’s look at four signs to check if hackers are spying on you via webcam and recording videos without your authorization.

1. Do you notice strange behavior on camera?

If your webcam is modern enough, it has the ability to rotate and move in different directions to capture the best video/image at the most convenient angle. That’s a cool feature when you’re using it, but it increases your vulnerability when a hacker takes over. 

Check if the camera moves or rotates without your command. If you notice any unusual movement, it is a sign that you are being spied on by the camera.

Since webcams work as synonymous with built-in microphones and speakers every time you make a video call, there’s a good chance that a misbehaving camera will also affect the microphone and speakers. Also, observe these accessories and avoid those who spy on you through the camera.

2. New strange files

After a hacker records images through your webcam, those video or audio images will be saved among your existing archive files. That means, if a file appears out of nowhere, then it would be a red alert. 

Go through your folders and look for files you didn’t create, especially in your webcam recordings folder. You also can’t rule out the possibility that the hacker may have relocated some of your files to new folders or a location where you’re not likely to check them on a regular basis. 

For that, always comb every corner of your storage locations and confirm that your webcam settings meet their specifications at all times.

3. Does the led light turn on or off by itself?

Does the led of your webcam blink abnormally or turn on without your consent? If so, someone could control it remotely. Sometimes other computer programs or browser extensions running in the background could be using your webcam, causing abnormal flickering. 

At other times, the indicator will malfunction due to a technical problem with your computer. But you should leave nothing to chance when it comes to your cybersecurity. Stay on top of things at all times.

4. Search for apps in the background

Sometimes malware infiltrates your computer like normal applications. This is especially the case when you like to download apps from unsafe websites, so a malware app finds an easy way to access your operating system. 

You should always be on the lookout for software/applications running on your computer without you installing them.

5. Be aware and act

While most of us work remotely, we use our webcams more than ever to hold video meetings with our team and crew. If you’re running these types of meetings, be aware of anything suspicious on the call and only allow team members in by giving them a password.

How to avoid those who spy on the camera?

I’ll assume you have a Windows operating system. Now I will explain the steps to disable the webcam, to prevent them from taking videos of you, when you use the PC.

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Click on ‘Hardware and Sound’
  3. Click on ‘Device Manager’
  4. Find your webcam, it will probably be under ‘imaging devices’
  5. Click on it.
  6. In the new window, you will see the ‘controller’, click on it.
  7. Click deactivate.

Now your webcam is disabled. No one can see you dancing naked to use it again just follow the steps again and in the controller menu click enable.

Or just put duct tape or a Band-Aid over the camera and problem solved.

How to know if I am being spied on by the webcam of my mobile phone

The best way to tell if your phone’s camera has been hacked is by using the camera itself. Activate the camera, zoom in and out. If your camera is experiencing a lot of lag, this can be one of the telltale signs that it has been hacked.

Of course, this is not the only way you can tell if your phone has been hacked or not. There are a few more things you can do, or signs you can see, that can tell you if your phone has been hacked.

The main way your smartphone would be hacked today is with a Trojan horse virus. Let’s see some problems that this type of virus can cause on your phone. Here are some signs to look out for to know if your phone has been hacked.

1. Battery life drastically worsens

One of the main signs that could indicate your phone has been hacked is a dramatic difference in battery life. If suddenly your phone can’t go a whole day without needing to be recharged, you may have a problem.

The thing is that the hacker is using your mobile data. This is what increases the total use of your phone’s battery life. Phone battery is expected to gradually get worse over time with any phone. But if it plummets very quickly, piracy could be a factor.

2. Phone starts acting weird

Aside from limited battery life, another indicator that you’ve been hacked is that your phone starts doing strange things. The best example of this is that your phone suddenly decides to turn off or has started to become slow and unresponsive.

Having good security software in place is key to fixing this type of problem and, more importantly, preventing it from happening again in the future.

3. Random text activity

A telltale sign that your phone has been hacked is when your call and text history shows things you’ve never done. Find random text messages sent or calls made? There is a possibility that you have been hacked.

Sometimes the hacker tries to gain access to your personal information. But in some cases, they may just try to use their phone to go to their own website or something similar to try and make money from your website traffic.

4. Increase data usage

One thing you’ll want to check is how much data your phone is using. Another sign of hacking is that the phone starts using more data than it had previously.

Make sure you’re not using a lot of data, as a hacker will often try to get your phone to access the internet 24/7. If someone has access to your phone, you’ll likely see the amount of data you use increase dramatically.

5. Pop-ups

As with the laptop, pop-ups can be another indicator that you have some privacy issues on your phone. You can fix this problem by downloading good antivirus software.