Why You Need to Cover Your Webcam RIGHT NOW

August 12, 2015   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
August 12, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Your computer’s built-in webcam is easy to take for granted if you don’t use it very often. But just because you don’t take advantage of this amazing piece of technology — as a woman in Toronto was recently shocked to learn — doesn’t mean it isn’t being used.

Chelsea Clark’s night watching Netflix with her boyfriend didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary — until pictures of the couple from that evening were sent to her Facebook account by the hacker who’d taken them from her webcam.

Clark described this as “a terrifying notion. It was a really bizarre thing to receive those messages and it really took a second to be like, ‘OH MY GOD, that’s what this means, that’s the implication of receiving this message is someone was just watching us. We obviously had no idea it was taking place at the moment, but retroactively it was like a really, really deeply creepy feeling. It was very unnerving. I mean it does feel like there’s just someone in your home with you.”

Hackread reported previously that hackers use Remote Access Trojan (RAT) to gain access to unsuspecting users’ computers and record their activity, including webcam sessions. In a separate incident, a Canadian woman who had taken control of users’ webcams was arrested for spying.

This RAT malware is easily obtained by young and novice hackers through those with more experience. Called “ratters” because of the name of the malware they most often use, these hackers take control of a victim’s computer and electronic devices and then attack, according to Hackread.

Toronto Police are investigating Clark’s case. An easy safeguard everyone can use to prevent their candid moments from being seen by prying eyes is to attach a small piece of any opaque tape, band aid, or other material over the webcam.

In fact, if you haven’t yet, maybe that should be the next thing you do.


This article (Why You Need to Cover Your Webcam RIGHT NOW) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include social justice, police brutality, exposing the truth behind propaganda, and general government accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Ohio. Learn more about Bernish here!

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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98 Comments

  1. Dianna Maria its a bit more technical, but since i am on a laptop i shut of the motherboard control to the webcam

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  2. every webcam after i think 2005 has been reworked to have a light next to it. and the webcam only receives power through the light hence as long as the light isnt working the camera will never be on so theres nothing to worry about i dont care how good of a hacker you are you cant change basic hardware design

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  3. every webcam after i think 2005 has been reworked to have a light next to it. and the webcam only receives power through the light hence as long as the light isnt working the camera will never be on so theres nothing to worry about i dont care how good of a hacker you are you cant change basic hardware design

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  4. Christopher Laskey thats pro but every webcam after i think 2005 has been reworked to have a light next to it. and the webcam only receives power through the light hence as long as the light isnt working the camera will never be on so theres nothing to worry about i dont care how good of a hacker you are you cant change basic hardware design

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  5. Wasi Ul Hassan what so your saying they wired a light in series with the webcam, that makes no sence as voltage would be halfed.. Im sure they would be in a parallel circuit, which means one could be working without the other..

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  6. No they run on the microprocesser thats set with the camera, some changing in coding and you can tell that light not to run. it isn't parallel.

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  7. Something like this is more for computers but with some heavy work someone could set a virus to monitor phones. though its highly unlikey as the custom operation systems for phone are usually harder to set somthing in place to trigger a camera with out the phone alerting you of its activation.

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  8. Wasi Ul Hassan this is not true..the webcam light can be disabled. here is a method to do it programticly http://blog.erratasec.com/2013/12/how-to-disable-webcam-light-on-windows.html#.Vcw8dPlVhBc and here are article show that the government has a backdoor they utilizes no light https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2013/12/18/research-shows-how-macbook-webcams-can-spy-on-their-users-without-warning/ …allways asumed your being watched and listened to..just because you dont understand how they do it dosnt mean they dont do it

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  9. Wasi Ul Hassan this is not true..the webcam light can be disabled. here is a method to do it programticly http://blog.erratasec.com/…/how-to-disable-webcam-light… and here are article show that the government has a backdoor they utilizes no light https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/research-shows-how…/ …allways asumed your being watched and listened to..just because you dont understand how they do it dosnt mean they dont do it

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  10. Wasi Ul Hassan this is not true..the webcam light can be disabled. here is a method to do it programticly http://blog.erratasec.com/…/how-to-disable-webcam-light… and here are article show that the government has a backdoor they utilizes no light https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/research-shows-how…/ …allways asumed your being watched and listened to..just because you dont understand how they do it dosnt mean they dont do it

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  11. The way this guy Wasi Ul Hassan is replying about the "light" safety net lie to EVERY comment you'd think he's the inventor of the webcam RAT tool lol

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  12. Apparently there are even cam sites on the deep web with pages full of hacked webcams, and if you heard anything about the kind of people that hang out on the deep web… well, whatever their intention is, it's probably not good.

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  13. Apparently there are even cam sites on the deep web with pages full of hacked webcams, and if you heard anything about the kind of people that hang out on the deep web… well, whatever their intention is, it's probably not good.

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  14. A few years ago I was watching NCIS and McGhee (the computer nerd) was hacking a webcam. Ever since then mine has been covered.

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  15. If you can get an app to do it, garentee big brother and or hackers can and have. I phones are the worst but all smart phones are spied upon. Notice how they all now have built in batteries you can't remove…

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  16. Christopher Laskey comment seems to be true, but not really harder,run ios in a vmware station an get apple to give you the stuff to create an app, costum permissions on said app. an bam its done . lol .

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  17. I noticed that when my daughter signed in, the light on the webcam automatically lit up sometimes. Since then all our webcams (including the Play Station camera) are covered with tape.

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  18. Lots of images of me squinting at a screen then fumbling for my glasses… and swesring at my typos… doh!

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  19. Lots of images of me squinting at a screen then fumbling for my glasses… and swesring at my typos… doh!

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  20. Lots of images of me squinting at a screen then fumbling for my glasses… and swesring at my typos… doh!

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  21. Question: Is a second feed able to be used when you are actually using your webcam. I hardly use mine, occasional tinychats with friends maybe once every few months. I bluetack a plectrum over my cam whilst Im not using it, or unplug it as I have been anxious about this type of thing going on for many years.. My carer tried to give me therapy to "get over" this fear but as Ive done more research my stance is the same and feel it is not paranoia because its a very real threat. Its a justified response to cover it, not irrational fear. If Im using my cam, would someone else be able to stream that?

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  22. imagine what they can do with the xbox ones kill switch, if you dont know what i mean look it up.

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  23. i do big musical numbers now that i read this,., tonight, it will be the enitre score of OKLAHOMA!……

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  24. I'm not entirely sure on how practical it really is, but in theory, the stream can be intercepted and viewed. But hacking the camera is no longer an option, you'd have to get inside the computer, and hack the software you're using (i.e Skype).
    So you'd have to get a trojan, or any other kind of virus as an actual file put in your system, and then the hacker would have to know that you're having a conversation using the webcam, and then hack Skype (again, just an example of a software).

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  25. I'd start with saying that I totally agree with you, and continue by correcting your term, it's black net. Deep web (or net) is a google searching technique. It's basic philosophy states that everything online can be found. Very useful when trying to get a good deal on some new product. Black net on the other hand is that "cloud" of mostly illegal information floating around the internet which you cannot possibly find without getting a reference to a direct url.

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  26. Alexander Daftong Yakovlev Excellent, thanks man. Theres little chance of this happening. Appreciated.

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  27. Avril Walters Give me a break. So they're gonna watch me watch movies, smoke and eat. Just think of the social lives those guys have, I almost feel sorry for them. But then again, my favorite series just loaded up, so fuck them.

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  28. I suppose the same can go for smartphones. That fact that you can invert the camera to take a photo from the screen side means there is another camera in your screen looking at you at all times.

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  29. No you're not Eric! In fact, to me, you look like an Incan warrior… Use it to your advantage. One persons ugly is another's beautiful!

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  30. My camera light came on out of the blue last night. I taped it right away. On start up this morning light is off. I'm keeping it taped though!

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  31. I covered mine with a small piece of black tape the day I bought it!

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  32. I agree with Louis. Be proud, of yourself, you are made of starts…with a beautiful heritage to match. Don't let amerikamism change that. Ever. Look up your heritage, your people are beautiful powerful and pure…until you were lied to, and told you were less. Connect with your roots. Be proud agin. They lied to you because the secrets of the universe live in your veins. Look for it.

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  33. I agree with Louis. Be proud, of yourself, you are made of starts…with a beautiful heritage to match. Don't let amerikamism change that. Ever. Look up your heritage, your people are beautiful powerful and pure…until you were lied to, and told you were less. Connect with your roots. Be proud agin. They lied to you because the secrets of the universe live in your veins. Look for it.

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  34. Two months ago I heard a sound while I was working on my laptop…that sounded like something was clicking on. My webcam has been covered since then!

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  35. Same here. I uncover it when I video chat with my friend, then put it right back on. lol

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  36. Same here. I uncover it when I video chat with my friend, then put it right back on. lol

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  37. things like this are due to human laziness… don't open sites or programs without diligence. Simple enough. Most people get viruses because they just hit "OK" or "Close" because it's more convenient than reading what you're acknoledging (the alert messages). My mom follows this rule and she started using Windows 7 7-9 years after my dad starting using a computer and she never has gotten malware. My dad on the other hand uses mac and windows and continuously gets malware on both. He doesn't want to read whats on screen and just wants to keep trudding without any regard. Unfortunately because this is the case people will take advantage by creating malicious software or websites, etc. Sort of creating a jungle within the internet. Just like in a real jungle, watch where you step or you might be killed.

    Side note : please do not use antivirus software because it doesnt work. Those programs only slow things down AND they are only as good as what they know.. meaning if someone creates a new virus (new name and code etc.) TODAY, then most will have trouble identifiying that there MIGHT even be anything malicious…

    moral of the story: read on screen prompts. Read your current URL (address bar), read the redirection URL (the link show in the bottom left or right of the screen when you hover a regular link) and don't open a program ending in EXE (windows users) unless you're certain of what it contains (turn off hidden file extensions to make this easier). As you grow from a young grasshopper you'll keep note of many more things to keep yourself safe.

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  38. things like this are due to human laziness… don't open sites or programs without diligence. Simple enough. Most people get viruses because they just hit "OK" or "Close" because it's more convenient than reading what you're acknoledging (the alert messages). My mom follows this rule and she started using Windows 7 7-9 years after my dad starting using a computer and she never has gotten malware. My dad on the other hand uses mac and windows and continuously gets malware on both. He doesn't want to read whats on screen and just wants to keep trudding without any regard. Unfortunately because this is the case people will take advantage by creating malicious software or websites, etc. Sort of creating a jungle within the internet. Just like in a real jungle, watch where you step or you might be killed.

    Side note : please do not use antivirus software because it doesnt work. Those programs only slow things down AND they are only as good as what they know.. meaning if someone creates a new virus (new name and code etc.) TODAY, then most will have trouble identifiying that there MIGHT even be anything malicious…

    moral of the story: read on screen prompts. Read your current URL (address bar), read the redirection URL (the link show in the bottom left or right of the screen when you hover a regular link) and don't open a program ending in EXE (windows users) unless you're certain of what it contains (turn off hidden file extensions to make this easier). As you grow from a young grasshopper you'll keep note of many more things to keep yourself safe.

    Post a Reply
  39. I rarely turn off my laptop so it's closed on hibernate. Sometimes in the night-time I hear it turning itself on :/ it scares me! Hackers?

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  40. Alexander Daftong Yakovlev Yeah I hear you, do my best to navigate without stirring up the water too much ;) Thanks for heads up. Ill keep mine down.

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  41. it's checking for updates and sending data to apple or microsoft. You can turn those features off with a few google searches.

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  42. ''please do not use antivirus software because it doesnt work'' that's not great advice you should definitely use antivirus softwhere. it gets all the low hanging frut and they are allways updateing the database. leading experts and pro hackers strongly recomend antivrus. and if it is slowing down your pc it must be way past due for an upgrade or a laptop. everything slows down a laptop unless its a good one.

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  43. Robin Coelho LOL yes leading pros offer it because their jobs revolve around it… professional… the word says it all "one who does for profit"… and it's software not softwhere. I'm not really sure where you learned this from… if it's at all from television or advertisement then you're being swindled. There are no low hanging fruit. Even if there were, you would see them. Your computer does not do anything without your approval. Even if you are decieved, you as the user must be the one who makes the mistake. The computers that consumers have today do not wander off into the internet on their own.

    I'd also like to point out that the term "hacker" is so frivolously thrown around. It's simply one who gains access to another's data without permission. Most people don't use passwords and if they do they are default or weak and easy to crack. I am probably considered a power user for computers but I know for certain it's how you use your computer that ultimately decides it's fate, no matter how many things you install to "protect" it. My mom uses it diligently, so she has no issues. My dad on the other hand is swimming in the abyss day in and day out… oh I should point out my dad uses antivirus software.

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  44. Though other people being able to see through, the window into your world which is, your webcam is kinda unnerving, I'm not bothered by it.

    If the people(call them "hackers", if you will, though it's really the software doing most of the work) doing this were clever they could use this software for good purposes.

    If someone's being threatening/a cyber bully, RAT could be used to capture an image of them, and report them to authorities..

    Or if someone is suspected of being at catfish, this could be used to see if the attractive young person you're talking to is actually a creep. Then they can be reported.

    It's a powerful tool. It would please me to see it used with some degree of responsibility.

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  45. Moe Daedalus I completely agree. If you must use antivirus, which I do (background process, token scanning etc. just so i'm sure) it's only good for resolving human error. I'm not perfect but I'm also not a dumbass so it's unlikely I'll get any viruses. My antivirus software scans once a week just looking for emergency cases, because nobody in their right mind will need it for anything else.

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  46. Electrical tape here. Cut a small piece just big enough to cover cam lens. Did on my iphone on side facing me

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  47. My last pay check was $85oo working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is what I do…….. w­­w­­w.GrabCash74.c­­o­­m

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  48. My last pay check was $85oo working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is what I do…….. w­­w­­w.GrabCash74.c­­o­­m

    Post a Reply
  49. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. I'm using an online business opportunity I heard about and I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I've been doing,
    w­­w­­w.worknet4.c­­o­­mCOPY THE LINK

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  50. This article is just plain stupid; the author who wrote it shouldn't be writing about things she clearly doesn't understand. LOTS of folks, who might not know better, will end up digging deeper holes for themselves, following articles such as this.

    If a hacker has gained access to your computer in such a way that they can activate your camera, you're screwed, or should at least assume you are screwed. Taping your camera, in such a case, is like treating cancer with a band-aid.

    Here's the step-by-step of what to do in this situation:

    1.) KICK YOURSELF, for loading that known or suspected harmful/malicious website, or for running that script (or other software), from that random source, or from that known or suspected malicious source, or for opening that random email attachment, without even thinking about its source or context, first.

    2.) If your browser or OS (or your next-to-useless antivirus software) clearly warned you about any of what was mentioned in step 1, kick yourself AGAIN.

    3.) If doing any of what was mentioned in step 1 resulted in you entering your user or, worse yet, administrator password into a prompt, kick yourself AGAIN.

    2.) Securely erase your disk and reinstall your software.

    3.) Copy your files and other data over from a KNOWN UNINFECTED BACKUP.

    4.) If you do not have the aforementioned backup… *SIGH*… KICK YOURSELF AGAIN.

    5.) Brush off the back of your pants, and remember why your pants are soiled and your ass is sore.

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  51. This article is just plain stupid; the author shouldn't be writing about things she clearly doesn't understand. LOTS of folks, who might not know better, will end up digging deeper holes for themselves, following articles such as this.

    If a hacker has gained access to your computer in such a way that they can activate your camera, you're screwed, or should at least assume you are screwed. Taping over your camera, in such a case, is like treating cancer with a band-aid.

    Here's the step-by-step of what to do in this situation:

    1.) KICK YOURSELF, for loading that known or suspected harmful/malicious website, or for running that script (or other software), from that random source, or from that known or suspected malicious source, or for opening that random email attachment, without even thinking about its source or context, first.

    2.) If your browser or OS (or your next-to-useless antivirus software) clearly warned you about any of what was mentioned in step 1, kick yourself AGAIN.

    3.) If doing any of what was mentioned in step 1 resulted in you entering your user or, worse yet, administrator password into a prompt, kick yourself AGAIN.

    2.) Securely erase your disk and reinstall your software.

    3.) Copy your files and other data over from a KNOWN UNINFECTED BACKUP.

    4.) If you do not have the aforementioned backup… *SIGH*… KICK YOURSELF AGAIN.

    5.) Brush off the back of your pants, and remember why your pants are soiled and your ass is sore.

    Post a Reply
  52. This article is just plain stupid; the author shouldn't be writing about things she clearly doesn't understand. LOTS of folks, who might not know better, will end up digging deeper holes for themselves, following articles such as this.

    If a hacker has gained access to your computer in such a way that they can activate your camera, you're screwed, or should at least assume you are screwed. Taping over your camera, in such a case, is like treating cancer with a band-aid.
    Here's the step-by-step of what to do in this situation:

    1.) KICK YOURSELF, for loading that known or suspected harmful/malicious website, or for running that script (or other software), from that random source, or from that known or suspected malicious source, or for opening that random email attachment, without even thinking about its source or context, first.

    2.) If your browser or OS (or your next-to-useless antivirus software) clearly warned you about any of what was mentioned in step 1, kick yourself AGAIN.

    3.) If doing any of what was mentioned in step 1 resulted in you entering your user or, worse yet, administrator password into a prompt, kick yourself AGAIN.

    4.) Securely erase your disk and reinstall your software.

    5.) Copy your files and other data over from a KNOWN UNINFECTED BACKUP.

    6.) If you do not have the aforementioned backup… *SIGH*… KICK YOURSELF AGAIN.

    7.) Brush off the back of your pants, and remember why your pants are soiled and your ass is sore.

    Post a Reply
  53. Almost forgot, the more paranoid among us might pull our RAM, thereby cutting any juice to it. Maybe, however, that's only as paranoid as it is difficult to get to that RAM and remove it.

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  54. This post is MENTALY RETARDED, and i can see that 88k MENATLLY RETARDED IDIOTS showed up liking it ) As a white hat i`ll tell u : I DONT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT UR CAMERA, NOR DO MY NIGERIAN FRIENDS… There is 0 and i mean it absolute 0 interest from any one regarding your camera, to spy on you… WHAT THE FUCK MAKES U THAT SPECIAL TO BEGIN WITH?! Go throw ur laptops and mobile phones, its safer and faster that the migthy DUCK-TAPE…
    As i said please understand we dont need to hidjack your camera, to spy on you, there are tons of videos free to reach out there in the internet and absolutley all of them are better and worth the time than sitting to spy on you, TRUST ME..
    It is your bank account and personality you should take care of! Grow brains or throw all of the scary technology you posess…

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  55. And if you hear a burglar in your house CLOSE YOUR EYES REALLY TIGHT! Really, you think the hacker on your laptop isn't able to ruin your life a thousand other ways with FULL CONTROL OF YOUR PC? Worst advice ever.

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  56. Obviously privacy means something to me(don't be silly), otherwise I'd have a camera recording my every move and streaming it to YouTube. I might even get paid for such a thing.

    But, that's not happening, so privacy clearly means something to me.

    I think, in the pretty acceptable circumstances I suggested, it would be pretty acceptable.

    I'm saying that, as this software allows people to see through your webcam, I don't mind that. Though you may think that's crazy, I'll explain.

    See the little box, next to my name? That's a picture of me.

    I have many social media accounts, so many pictures of me, that anyone on the web can see.

    So, if people can get pictures of me, with out me having to take the pictures, I don't mind that.

    I'm never doing something where I wouldn't take a picture.

    I often have my devices on flat surfaces(meaning I wouldn't be seen), in my pocket(where I wouldn't be seen), or I'm using it – part of said usage likely includes using Snapchat. My laptop is rarely on.

    My Facebook page shows very little information to my friends, and even less to strangers. I have to let people follow me on Twitter. Snapchat will not allow people to send messages to me, if I don't accept their friend request.

    All of my devices run very good malware detection software. This trojan will be noticed, at the very least.

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  57. you sound madd like you tryna hack into a girls webcam and she covered it because of this article.

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  58. Congratulations, you've wrote an article about a topic everyone's known about for a long time. At this point, if you don't cover your camera when you're not using it or when you're masturbating, you deserve to get spied on.

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  59. And what is it that is supposed to be so interesting on those cams? Why anybody would bother to hijack them?

    Post a Reply
  60. dude they might record your video doing masterbating while watching a porn video… i think you might have seen some on the internet….

    Post a Reply
  61. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $177 per hour. I work through this link,
    go? to tech tab for work detail,
    .­­­­­­t­­­­­­i­­­­­­n­­­­­­y­­­­­­u­­­­­­r­­­­­­l­­­­­­.­­­­­­c­­­­­­o­­­­­­m­­­­­­/MaxCash3424-com

    Post a Reply
  62. My webcam is on a rotating base, that I designed and built myself.

    When not in use, all it can see is the backside of my monitor. It could in theory pick up conversations, but since I haven't discussed anything important in the room its in since before I got it, I don't see that as much of a problem.

    Post a Reply
  63. if your computer is hacker with RAT…believe me the last thing you should worry about is your camera …
    think about social media, bank accounts, credit cards, your conversations, your history… actually all your "accounts" anywhere… and sometime, these trojans come with worms that hack through networks (other laptops/computer) or through USB drives ….
    think about you are being fucked up do badly …. your 1Mpx photo isn't really the biggest concern in all that.

    Post a Reply
  64. if your ugly than im ugly bruz , lets be trolls together. webcam uncovered.

    Post a Reply

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