Webcam safety with Jacqueline Jossa

Webcam safety with Jacqueline Jossa



5 February 2014 Last updated at 16:00

Webcam safety with Jacqueline Jossa

Jacqueline Jossa’s guide to webcam safety:

Webcams make it possible for us to chat face to face with friends and family wherever we, or they, may be.
You could be in the next room to the other person or on the other side of the world, but the webcam allows you to talk as if you were face to face.

Now there are some risks attached to webcam use, but by following a few simple steps you can reduce the chances that you’ll come to harm.

What is ‘Ratting’?

Hackers are able to gain access to a victim’s computers using a piece of malicious software (malware) called a Remote-Access Trojan (Rat) which infects the victim’s computer or device with a virus. These are sometimes referred to more generally as remote access tools.
Many of these ‘Rats’ now include a function allowing a hacker to access the victim’s webcam without their knowledge.

How secure is your webcam?

So how does a hacker get a virus into your computer or device? One way they can do this is by sending you an email with a link. If you receive an email from a stranger, think before clicking on a link or an attachment.

The risk of having your webcam hacked is also higher if you don’t have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer and other software is not kept up-to-date. So make sure you have the latest versions of security software on all your devices including tablets and smartphones.

Where is your webcam?

It is important to avoid putting webcams in private areas such as bedrooms. When webcams are not in use don’t forget to unplug them, cover the lens or point it at a blank wall.

Making friends online

Continue reading the main story

Think before you cam

Jacqueline Jossa at her laptop

More common-sense tips can be found in the Childnet video and webcam chat guides

If you use your webcam to communicate with people you meet online, it is important to consider how well you know them. If you are having a private conversation are you sure they are the only person who can see you?

Also consider whether there’s a chance that they could be recording what you are saying or doing – you might not want them to post a video of your chat on a social network or share it using their mobile phone.
Remember, once it is out there you may never be able to delete all copies of it. It is against the law for someone to intrude on your privacy in this way and offenders can be prosecuted under the Computer Misuse Act.

Webcam worry – beware of cyber Ratting

MSN Tech
Trending Now

20/06/2013 13:30
Webcam worry – beware of cyber Ratting
New hack could expose you to the world

Webcam hacking (© Corbis)

The term ‘Ratting’ is trending worldwide, following a BBC Radio 5 Live report on the subject.

No, this isn’t some small scale ‘dogging’ alternative; Ratting actually takes its name from the phrase ‘Remote Administration Tool’ and refers to a cyber attack whereby a victim’s webcam is hacked.

Student Rachel Hyndman, 20, from Glasgow, is one such victim. She claims her webcam was turned on when she was in the bath (hopefully with her laptop unplugged or otherwise Ratting is the least of her worries).

She told the Beeb: “I was sitting in the bath, trying to relax, and suddenly someone potentially has access to me in this incredibly private moment and it’s horrifying. To have it happen to you without your consent is horribly violating.”

It’s claimed that Ratters (we made that phrase up but we think it works) gain access using a remote-access Trojan and that stolen images are sold illegally on the web.

Childnet International is warning people to disconnect webcams when not in use – easier said than done though if yours is built into your laptop. It did, however, point out it only has anecdotal evidence of webcams being hacked and Joss Wright, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, said he was not aware of webcam hacking being widespread.

MSN Tech’s advice is to keep your computer’s security software up to date. We’d also recommend not using a laptop in a bath – get yourself a waterproof Sony Xperia Tablet Z instead.

Here’s the Twitter talk…

@elizadonevan: Web cam horror story doesn’t change the fact that the internet is a great and powerful thing that does lots of good.#RATting @bbc5live

@Lawrence_Jones: Is RATting the ultimate intrusion? The fact that you can be unwittingly recorded in the privacy of your own home is a huge concern

@UntamedBachelor: Its a warning to whoever is trying to hack my webcam, you’ll get nothing but 16 hours of me poking finger in my nose session.