Laptop Webcam Feature Can Create A Security Threat

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Most laptops these days come with a perk; a web cam is included.

However, this standard feature can create a very real security threat.

It is now possible to buy malicious software that turns a web cam on or off.  It is even possible to disable the “on” light so the camera is on while a laptop owner is unaware.

Justin Vellese of the FBI said that much of the software is easy to use.

“They don’t have to be a computer programmer,” said Vellese. “Many laptops now have 3G or wireless capabilities built into them, so being portable they can be used anywhere and can be put in places that are private, places that people might not want to be seen.”

Dan Ackerman of CNET says it is more important than ever to make sure your security is up to date.

“Make sure your firewall is turned on at all times and you have your anti-virus, anti-malware apps running constantly,” said Ackerman.

Vellese says some simple steps can further enhance your security.

“If you are not using the camera, you can either disable it by simply putting a Post It over it, or if it’s plugged in via USB, unplugging it,” said Vellese.

The FBI considers this crime cyber terrorism and they say young women are the most common target.

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