Unsettling footage has emerged from the webcams of unsuspecting internet users, with video clips taken straight from hacked webcams being compiled in a montage warning users to be more wary of the recording technology stored in their devices.
The footage, posted to YouTube and reportedly obtained from the deep web, shows a number of people using their laptops/desktops while unaware that they’re being watched by someone who has hacked into their device. Footage of each of the individuals featured in the video was then allegedly shared across the deep web, with the uploader’s friend compiling them in order to show people the dangers of not protecting webcams with passwords.
Though none of the footage shown is particularly incriminating — one woman is depicted smoking drugs, but other than that it mostly shows people idly staring at their laptop screens — it serves to highlight just how much our privacy can be invaded online without us even knowing.
There are a few key ways in which hackers can potentially gain access to your webcam. One of the easiest is through insecure devices on similarly easily infiltrated operating systems, though hackers can also send out Trojans that can remotely gain access to a user’s device, too. Preventative security measures have increased over the years, with Firewalls blocking a vast majority of the threats you’re likely to encounter online, but there are still many who unwittingly leave themselves vulnerable to attacks by utilizing out-of-date software or not adequately protecting their devices.
The deep web consists of websites that aren’t indexed by standard search engines, making them incredibly difficult to find for the average user. Though not concealed in the Tor network like the dark web, the deep web is still known for housing plenty of illegal activities, with users operating from out of the line of sight of authorities.
In 2014, a Russian site emerged on the deep web with links to live streams of webcam footage from across the world, including images of babies and hospital patients. The videos were also taken from home security cameras and cameras used by businesses to monitor their offices, with it noting that none of the footage had been hacked, but that it had been taken from cameras that had not been adequately protected.
For those looking to increase the security of their webcams, adding a strong password is the first step you should take. If the webcam is already installed on your computer, ensure that all of its security features are turned on. Additionally, routinely check your computer for malware, and turn off your webcam / close your laptop when not using it.
Note: The video footage taken from the webcams has not been shared here due to privacy reasons. The images of the individuals involved have also been blurred.