It’s no secret that there are bad actors out there in Internet-land writing malicious programs, apps, plug-ins, extensions etc. There are all kinds of different online attacks available for hackers to take advantage of and they’re coming up with new threats all the time. Some attacks are very sneaky, like spying on you through your computer’s web cam and/or microphone without your knowledge.
Fortunately, there are tools for PCs and Macs that can help you prevent such an attack or stop it, once it begins. You don’t need to take the drastic action of placing a piece of masking tape over your web cam lens. That gums up your web cam lens with adhesive, when you might want to be able to Skype from time-to-time, without that gunk.
If you have a Windows PC, Who Stalks My Cam is one of the best utilities that can manage your web cam access for you. It runs in the background, while you use your PC normally. It will alert you to any suspicious attempts to take over your attached web cam. It doesn’t just block suspected malware from accessing your cam, it also diverts or disables any spying efforts, to ensure your activities are secure.
Once you’ve downloaded Who Stalks My Cam, setting it up is super easy. You can set up to start at the same as you start up your Windows, PC. While Who Stalks My Cam is running, you can find it in your notification area (system tray.) You can set up specific rules for blocking access to the cam and you can choose to keep a log of web cam access.
If you have a Mac, you can try Oversight, which like Who Stalks My Cam, runs in the background looking for any unusual activity. It specifically looks out for any malware trying to access your webcam or microphone, as well as some well-known malware threats.
Once you’ve installed Oversight, it sets itself to run anytime you boot up your Mac. You’ll find it on your Mac, by clicking on the umbrella icon in the status bar. An alert will appear anytime your webcam or microphone is accessed, and for the web cam it will show you the process requesting access. If you receive an alert that some process you don’t recognize is attempting to access your web cam, then you can choose to block it.
If you’d rather not give this level of camera access to a third party program, then you might be better off sticking with that low tech, tape over the web cam lens option.