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Has my Webcam been Hijacked?

written by: KateG•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/19/2009

If you are worried that your webcam has been taken over by sinister forces, follow these steps to find out.

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    There is a possibility that your webcam could be hijacked. For most of us this is relatively minor, but just the thought of it is enough to give you the creeps, especially if your web cam happens to be in your bedroom. If you want to be sure that no one is watching you, there are a few simple steps that you can follow.

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    Lights, Camera, Spy

    This is probably the easiest thing that you can check. If the power light on your camera is on when you did not give your permission for it to be on, then you have a problem. If your camera's power is always on, try looking for the “recording” light.

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    Virus Scans

    Now you are going to run a virus scan. Obviously, you don’t really want to have any viruses, but the one that we are looking for is RbotGR. Your virus software should be able to locate it. Eradicating it, however, might be a bit more challenging. Just to be sure that your system has gotten rid of it, do a second sweep in 24 hours. Then, do a third sweep in a week. If the virus reappears, you may have to take the system in for a professional clean out.

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    Absolute Certainty

    If you want to be 100% sure that you are not being watched there is only one final solution: Unplug the camera. Then you can be certain, beyond any doubt that you are not being watched. Now, you can enjoy safe webcam use.

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    Is This A Windows Only Problem?

    Yes, for now, but that is not to say that a Mac/Linux version of this malware might not come out for other systems. Just because you have a Unix box, there is no reason to get complacent.

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    I Don't Have Virus Software

    Well, that is a problem. Luckily for you, there is a solution, and it does not even require you to go to the store. Here are some free options for virus scanning software. Read up and pick the one that meets your reads.