Is My Laptop Camera Hacked? How to Tell and What to Do

There is a reason why many people hide their laptop webcams with tape or use a specialized webcam cover; webcams may be hacked. This implies hackers could switch them on and capture you whenever they want, generally with a ‘RAT’ or remote administration device that has been discreetly installed.

Anyone could be a target of this form of attack. Ransomware attacks typically try to seize control of anything that they can exploit to generate revenue. Therefore, numerous spyware attempts to infiltrate webcams for hackers to (possibly) obtain content appropriate for blackmail.

This article goes in-depth to teach you how to tell whether your laptop camera is hacked and how you should go about it. Also, you will want to follow Laptop Verge to get regular updates on security tips.

How To Tell Your Laptop Camera Is Hacked?

1) Check Your Laptop’s Webcam Light

If your webcam LED light is on or performing strangely (you notice a yellow/red/blue pulsing light), even if you have not turned it on, it is a clue that something is wrong.

But do not panic just yet; it could be another browser extension or program operating in the background and exploiting your webcam. Double-check it first using these other measures.

2) Error Message When Trying To Use Webcam

Try starting another program, including Skype or a photo editing program, on your laptop. Then, access the stream from this on your webcam. If you receive an error message claiming that the current software cannot access the webcam since it is currently in use by some other program, this is a red flag.

Examine the programs running on your laptop to check if any of them are utilizing your laptop camera. Then, restart your computer without opening any other applications and see whether the error persists.

3) Check Task Manager (Windows)

Task manager is a fantastic tool to see if any dubious applications are operating in the background using your laptop camera. Follow the following guide:

  • Launch Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Select Processes from the top menu.
  • Select Network and ensure that the arrow beside it points down. This will organize the existing apps in descending order based on the network speed in use.
  • Look for any apps that are utilizing a considerable amount of network data.
  • In the top menu, select App History
  • Select Network and ensure that the arrow above it points downwards.
  • After that, you could see which apps have used the most significant data.
  • Throughout that procedure, if you come across any applications or programs that do not fit, make sure to eliminate them.

4) Check Activity Monitor (macOS)

  • To open the search/spotlight, click Command + Space
  • Input Activity Monitor and press the Enter key
  • In the top left menu, select Network
  • Tap on Sent Bytes and ensure the arrow beside it is pointed downwards
  • Apps are now sorted by network activity and displayed in descending order

5) Check Your Browser

Scan your browser for malicious addons and browser hijackers. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘browser hijacking,’ it is whenever malicious malware takes command of your browser and adjusts its settings. For example, if you switch on your browser and observe your webcam light turn on for even several seconds, your browser may be hijacked.

6) Run An Antivirus/Malware Scan

Run a malware and antivirus scan on your laptop, and not just any old scan. Ensure that it is the full scan, which will go through every file on your computer and search it for malicious malware.

To keep your laptop safe, do frequent scans on it on a routine basis. Additionally, maintain all of your software, particularly your operating system, and keep it up to date. Older versions may contain security weaknesses, which enable hackers to take command of your webcam.

What To Do If Laptop Camera Is Hacked:

1) Cover Your Laptop Camera

Covering up your laptop webcam is the simplest way to protect it. To conceal the lens, you could use electrical tape or any standard opaque plastic. However, avoid covering up the webcam’s light.

So, even when a hacker gains access to your webcam, they will be unable to capture any footage. To take it a notch higher, you might even conceal your laptop’s microphones.

Conversely, suppose you are the type of person that frequently utilizes their webcam. In that case, you can purchase laptop webcam coverings for just a few dollars from websites such as Amazon and AliExpress.

2) Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi

At all costs, desist from utilizing public Wi-Fi on your laptop. However, if you are compelled to, use it in a pinch. Make a point not to visit any sites that may contain sensitive information.

This encompasses accessing your online banking sites or making purchases with your credit card. Whenever possible, attempt to use a mobile hotspot. Nobody knows who else might be using a similar public Wi-Fi connection as you.

Moreover, when not in use, turn off your Bluetooth. Bluetooth can become a relatively simple method for cybercriminals to obtain access to your laptop.

3) Enable Your Firewall –(Windows)

The Firewall controls the links made and received by your laptop’s network card. In addition, it can deny any links that it deems hazardous, such as hackers attempting to compromise your laptop camera.

If you have ever switched off your Firewall to run specific software, follow this step-by-step guide to enable the Firewall on your Windows-operated’ laptop:

  • In the Windows Search box, enter Control Panel and then tap on the Control Panel program; You will be confronted with a particular layout.
  • Tap on System and Security
  • Select Windows Defender Firewall from the drop-down menu
  • In the left menu, select ‘Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.’
  • Ensure that your Firewall is enabled for both public and private networks.

4) Enable Firewall – (MacOS)

Follow this step-by-step guide to enable Firewall on Apple devices:

  • Select the Apple logo
  • Select’ System Preferences.’
  • Tap on Security & Privacy
  • In the top menu, select Firewall
  • From there, ensure your Firewall is switched on

5) Avoid Falling For Traps On The Internet

You should avoid clicking on any questionable URLs you come across on the web. This encompasses pop-up notifications, emails, and any other Link that appears even somewhat suspicious.

It is no longer difficult to acquire access to your computer. For example, assume you wanted to install the application WinRar on your computer. Unfortunately, a site may trick you by seeming to install WinRar while it is infecting your laptop with malware and getting unparalleled access to your webcam.

Hackers may also pose as help representatives and call you, claiming that there is a problem with your computer/system/program and that they must resolve it. Please do not take their word for it!

6) Reinstall / Fresh-Install Your Laptop

Webcams are frequently compromised by placing malware on your computer. Typically, a factory reset will solve the problem. However, bear in mind that it will necessitate some technical knowledge, and you should only utilize it as the last alternative.

Personal information is gradually becoming more valuable, and regrettably, fraudsters and hackers have not fallen asleep. They are continuously looking for vulnerable targets, and your laptop camera is one of the most accessible. So, keep up the good work and remain safe.

After reviewing this brief but comprehensive guide, you should have all the knowledge you require to determine if your laptop webcam has indeed been hacked and how to avoid similar breaches in the future.

Written By Callum Wright

With a background as a business owner for a company wokring with 3D animation and Visual Effects, Callum is just the person you need when you need help regarding laptops for professional use like graphics designing, photo editing, and general business administration.