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SafeCam

Help protect your PC against webcam hacking.

SafeCam alerts you to attempts to access your PC webcam and blocks those who are not authorized to access it.

Is it possible to hack a webcam?

Short answer: Yes.

Webcam hacking, sometimes called “camfecting,” is when a cybercriminal uses types of malware that enable them to remotely access a webcam, typically without the computer user’s knowledge. Inadvertently installing a Trojan, such as by clicking a link or downloading a file that leads to a Trojan infection, is a common way for this to happen.

Do you really need to cover your webcam?

 

Webcam protection is a common-sense security precaution

The head of the FBI publicly recommended covering your webcam, calling it a sensible thing to do. 

More than a webcam cover, Norton SafeCam is a software feature that detects attempts to access your PC webcam and blocks unauthorized access. As part of Norton Device Security, SafeCam is one of many features of Norton technology to help protect against this threat. 

What is Blackshades?

Blackshades is a type of Remote Access Trojan that was sold on a dedicated website for $40-$50.2 It provides a cybercriminal with complete control over an infected machine, and is used by entry level hackers and sophisticated cybercriminal groups alike. While one use for Blackshades is to take over a webcam, a cybercriminal could use Blackshades in additional ways, like recording keystrokes, stealing passwords from certain applications, and sharing the malware to other computers. Norton Device Security products incorporate multiple layers of defense against malware like Blackshades.3

Symantec assisted the FBI, who, working with Europol and several other law enforcement agencies, arrested dozens of individuals in 2014 who were suspected of cybercriminal activity using the “creepware” known as Blackshades. Symantec worked closely with the FBI, sharing information that allowed the agency to track down many of these suspects. As a result of this international coordinated takedown, the website selling Blackshades was taken down.2

How do webcams get hacked?

Like many types of software, the same type of tool can be used to help or to harm.

RAT: Remote Access Tool or Trojan? RAT can be an abbreviation for any of the following:
 

  • Remote Access (or Administration) Tool
  • Remote Access (or Administration) Trojan

The difference between tools and Trojans is that tools are often used to help, while Trojans are used for malicious purposes. A remote access tool can be used for legitimate reasons, such as for remote technical support. Unfortunately, some of the useful features that enable you to get computer help from home are also used in malicious Trojans, and often without the computer user’s knowledge.

Remote access Trojans are good at hiding their presence on a computer, so a victim may not even know it has been installed. Using the Trojan, a cybercriminal can do almost anything that someone physically sitting at the computer can do, including recording footage using the webcam. These types of Trojans are sometimes called “creepware.”

How do computers get infected with Trojans?

How would a cybercriminal infect your computer with a Trojan or “creepware”?

Remote access Trojans (RATs), or what we might call “creepware,” are programs that are installed without the victim’s knowledge and allow a cybercriminal to have access and control of the compromised computer from a remote location. Often, the cybercriminal will trick a victim into installing a Trojan, through clicking on a malicious link or downloading a malicious email attachment.

Ways your computer could get infected include:
 

  • Drive-by downloads – By visiting a website, the user unknowingly downloads a Trojan onto their computer
  • Malicious links – Malicious links, leading to websites hosting drive-by downloads, are distributed using social media, chat rooms, message boards, spam email, etc. The cybercriminal may also hack user accounts to make it seem like the link is being sent by a friend. Others may try to lure victims by posting enticing messages.
  • Exploit kits – Potential victims may visit compromised websites or click on malicious links and are then redirected to the exploit kit’s server where a script runs that will determine what exploits can be leveraged. If an exploit is viable, the victim is infected with the “creepware” and the cybercriminal is notified.
  • Packaged with other downloads – A Trojan can be spread through being packaged with other software or apps, such as with freeware that you might download from a website, app store, or through peer-to-peer file-sharing/torrents. Once you open and run the program, the Trojan could install with or without your knowledge too. 
     

Once the Trojan gets on a device, the hacker can see what you do online, capture your keystrokes such as when you type a username and password (keylogging), and could take full control of your computer, including your webcam.

The multi-layered protection in Norton Device Security helps protect your computer against these threats. Even if you do inadvertently click on a bad email attachment, a link to a malicious website, or download something that has malware inside, Norton protection has many ways to identify, quarantine, and remove the threat so your PC stays malware-free. 
 

How does Norton protection help against webcam hacking?

By using a multi-layered defense

Norton Device Security uses multiple different protection technologies working together to defend against malware, including the types of malware that can lead to webcam hacking. The best way to protect your PC against this threat is to protect it against malware, and that’s exactly what Norton protection does.

Norton Device Security layers of protection defend against malware on your PC that can lead to webcam hacking by:

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
PC, Mac

Analyzes information arriving from a network (like the Internet) and blocks potential threats before they hit your computer. 

Antivirus with Advanced Machine Learning
PC, Mac, Android

Scans and eradicates malware files that enter a device, using emulation to test and see what files do, and machine learning.

Reputation Protection (Insight)
PC

Uses the reputation information gathered from our global network to classify software application files on their attributes.

Behavioral Protection (SONAR™)
PC

Uses artificial intelligence to classify applications based on behavior, and automatically blocks applications that display suspicious behavior. 

Proactive Exploit Protection (PEP)
PC

Helps protect against never-before-seen ‘zero-day’ attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in applications or the operating system.

Power Eraser
PC

Helps detect and remove high-risk applications and malware that may be residing on your computer. 

SafeCam
PC

Specifically alerts you to attempts to access your webcam and blocks those who are not authorized to access it.

 

Working together, these powerful layers of Norton technology help protect your PC against malware of all kinds, and specifically the types of malware that can lead to webcam hacking.

How can you help protect against webcam hacking?

Steps to help protect your device

Webcam hacking starts with your computer getting infected with malware, specifically a type of malware that enables remote access for the attacker. To protect against malware, and specifically to protect against types of malware that can lead to webcam hacking, take these steps: 

  • Always run up-to-date antivirus and security software that includes sophisticated multi-layered technology, like Norton 360. 
  • Use security software that includes a built-in feature for webcam protection, like Norton SafeCam.
  • Avoid opening emails from unknown senders and clicking on suspicious email attachments.
  • Exercise caution when clicking enticing links sent through email, instant messages or posted on social networks. 
  • Only download files from trusted and legitimate sources. 


What if I accidentally download malware?

What if you make a mistake and don’t realize that you’ve downloaded a malicious file? With Norton protection, you don’t have to worry. If a threat does get through, the multiple security layers in Norton protection all work together to defend in different ways, to help keep your computer free of malware, even if you accidentally downloaded it. You also have support from Norton experts as part of your Norton membership, so you can always reach out for help if you think your computer has malware. 

Norton SafeCam - Safeguard the other window into your home.

Your webcam lets you keep in close contact with family, friends or colleagues, but it can be vulnerable to attack, giving cybercriminals an up-close view into your home, your daily routine, and personal information. 

Norton SafeCam alerts you to attempts to access your PC webcam and blocks those who are not authorized to access it.

Screens are simulated and subject to change.