'Camfecting' is latest form of computer hacking
Posted August 16, 2013
The word is “camfecting.”
That's what happens when someone hacks into another person's webcam, while the webcam owner is clueless.
Newly crowned Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, says it happened to her. She said someone sent nameless emails about having nude pictures of her that were taken with her own laptop webcam.
“Most likely, she had a virus and the person found out…and tried to exploit it,” said Matthew Fongrassin, a computer technician at Monster Computers in Fayetteville.
How to protect yourself from 'camfecting'
Like the common cold, a virus can sneak up on regular people – not just celebrities – when they’re going about their daily Google searches. It might show up as a legitimate-looking ad.
“Right now, there’s an ad running around that says your browser is out of date, but it’s not really your browser,” Fongrassin said. “When you click on it, it downloads a virus.”
The hackers are not always sophisticated voyeurs. In fact, the FBI warns that information about installing malware, which is malicious software for hacking, is available online for people with limited know-how.
So what to do if you don't want some unseen face seeing your face? Go to a computer shop to scan for malware, update your browser, don’t click open unfamiliar attachments and don’t expect that anti-virus software is a guarantee.
The FBI also advises turning off the computer when not in use and covering the webcam. Although Fongrassin warns that hackers can still view what’s on the screen if a webcam is covered up.
"Not everybody is a main target,” Fongrassin said. “But a lot of people do get infected.”