How to protect yourself when GCHQ goes for your webcam

Posted on Tuesday 4th March 2014

By Dr Tom Chothia for The Conversation

 

News that government intelligence agency GCHQ has been intercepting and storing webcam images from 1.8 million users of Yahoo’s chat service under the codename Optic Nerve is a reminder of how close we are to living in a surveillance state. Webcams, embedded in laptops and sitting on top of monitors, have become a standard piece of computing equipment, but it has now become clear that these can be used against us.

 

Hackers have been stealing webcam images of unsuspecting users for some time. The Metasploit tool comes with packages that make it easy for even a novice hacker to gain access to the webcam of any computer that doesn’t have all of the available patches and updates installed.

 

Equally worrying are reports that hackers could use the webcam on your laptop without even triggering the embedded warning light that indicates to the owner that the camera is in use.

 

Once they’ve gained access to your webcam, a hacker can then go on to trade or sell access to it on hidden websites and password protected chat rooms.

 

Read this article in full on The Conversation