Signs that your camera and microphone have been hacked

Microphone and camera hacking is when an attacker gains remote access to a device’s camera and microphone, usually with the intent to record or spy on the device user. Anthony Green, CTO of cyber security company FoxTech, discusses how to spot a camera or microphone breach.

Dubbed ‘camfecting,’ historically, it’s individuals who have been viewed as the main victims of webcam hacks. However, businesses are also at significant risk of camera and microphone hacking. Smartphones, laptops, PCs, and CCTV systems are all vulnerable, and a successful breach can be devastating. Through camera and microphone access, hackers can record meetings, learn information about your business and clients, or even gain deeper access to your devices and probe for sensitive data to use in a ransomware attack.

FoxTech provides its guide to spotting the clues that your camera and microphone have been hacked:

The webcam indicating light is on – but you’re not using your camera

On a laptop or desktop, most webcams will have an LED indicating light that turns on when the webcam is in use – such as when you are in a video conference or meeting. If this light appears when you are not using the webcam, it might be a cause for concern. Keep an eye on your security camera’s LEDs too – fast blinking is usually an indication that someone is trying to connect to your camera. If it’s not you trying to connect, then you need to get your in-house security team, or a third-party cyber security consultancy firm, to investigate.

Your webcam light turns on when you launch your browser

If your webcam light is activated every time you launch your browser, this is clear evidence that an attacker has gained access to your webcam and mic through a malicious browser extension. To find out which extension is the culprit, reboot your computer, and, one by one, deactivate your browser extensions – keeping an eye on the indicator light.

You can hear strange background noises

If you can hear any unusual sounds in the background of your business calls, or through your CCTV cameras, this is another sign that your camera has been hacked. Sometimes, hackers deliberately make themselves known through your camera’s two-way communication function. Listen out for anything from voices trying to stir up conversation to minor noises such as a small beeping.

Increased network traffic or data usage

For an attacker to access your device’s webcam or mic, or your CCTV camera, they must send the video and audio files through your router. Most routers and gateways will monitor data traffic, and some will show when the traffic came through. If there are large spikes in traffic at times you know you haven’t accessed your camera, then it’s an indication that intruders may have gained access.

You notice unusual application settings

Malware can change your device setting to make it easier for the intruder to gain access. On smartphones, PCs, and Macs, hackers will enable the camera and microphone on an unexpected application (or on an app they have installed themselves). Look out for new apps on your device that you don’t remember installing and check your application permission settings. Make sure that camera and microphone access is only permitted on apps where it is strictly necessary.

Checking a PC

Settings > Privacy > Camera (or Microphone) > Use the toggles next to each to revoke permission.

Checking a Mac

Settings > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Camera (or Microphone) > Untick the box next to each app to revoke permission.

Anthony said, “revoking unnecessary app permissions, and regularly reviewing them, is a great first step to protecting your business. In the cyber security industry, devices are known as ‘endpoints’. According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, 68 per cent of organisations have experienced one or more endpoint attacks that successfully compromised their data and/or their IT infrastructure. It’s vital to make it difficult for attackers to gain access to your system through insecure endpoints, so enhancing the security of your devices will enhance the security of your whole organisation.”

More News
57 minutes ago
Almost half businesses see scanning as step to digitisation
PFU (EMEA) has unveiled the findings of the ‘Scanning As An Enabler For Digital Transformation’ report in which Quocirca explored IT employees' views towards scanners and paper use in the workplace. The report finds that almost half (44%) of businesses consider scanning as an important part of their digitisation strategy, whilst 75 per cent of businesses are intending to invest further in scanning technology.
2 hours ago
Community-based care & support organisation chooses CallSwitch UCaaS
TelcoSwitch, a provider of unified communications and compliance solutions, has recently provided a CallSwitch cloud-hosted UCaaS solution to support community-based care and not-for-profit organisation, The Lantern Community in Dorset UK.
3 hours ago
Woodbank Group acquires Datatech Systems
Woodbank Office Solutions has acquired Wirral-Based Print Management business, Datatech Systems Ltd, seeing further expansion of the Woodbank Group’s presence in Liverpool and the Wirral.
1 day ago
Circular Computing launches RaaS to help businesses re-use tech
Circular Computing, a remanufacturer of laptops, is announcing the roll-out of Remanufacturing-as-a-Service (RaaS), to larger businesses across the UK and other geographies.
1 day ago
Kate Humble to champion climate action for Staffordshire Businesses
TV Presenter Kate Humble is set to join select speakers from across the green industry at the Staffordshire Climate Expo taking place at Uttoxeter Racecourse on30th Sept. The Animal Park presenter will be celebrating Staffordshire-based businesses in their efforts to tackle climate change in her keynote address at the conference.
4 days ago
Research reveals modernisation needed for business communications
Mitel has shared the findings of a business communications research survey conducted by analyst research firm Techaisle, which unveils insights into the needs of organisations seeking to modernise their business communications to support hybrid work.
5 days ago
Virtru data protection solutions approved for G-Cloud 13 Framework
Virtru, experts in data protection, has announced its acceptance and approval onto the G-Cloud 13 Framework, the latest version of the UK Government’s procurement platform for suppliers of cloud hosting, software, and support services to the public sector.
6 days ago
The ISO standard helping UK businesses with energy crisis
With the current energy crisis and price increases happening worldwide, now is a perfect time to put out content on technology-based energy solutions. Matthew Margetts, Director at Smarter Technologies explains how businesses can save money and reduce energy consumption.
6 days ago
Overcoming the risk of relying on email for law firms
Reliance on email is a standard business practice to effectively communicate both internally and externally. This has proven to be of utmost importance as most workforces have transitioned to hybrid working, but this, in turn, has also increased the size of the threat landscape, with cyber attackers targeting vulnerable workers who are away from the immediate support from IT teams.
1 week ago
Kinaxis selected by tea giant to digitally transform supply chain
Kinaxis has announced that it has been selected by ekaterra to break down silos, and introduce concurrent planning to enable a more agile, and accurate supply chain.

Login / Sign up