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January 31, 2017

Webcam Hacking is a Real Threat

Darolyn Skelton

The threat of cybercrime is growing rapidly. Now that smart phones, tablets and laptops are a fundamental part of our lives, the threat of webcam hacking is more real than ever, especially as more people use video apps such as Hangout, Skype, Zoom and Blue Jeans. With sophisticated malware, cybercriminals can easily hack your computer and gain access to your webcam. Not only is the webcam on your smart devices an easy target but the security systems and monitors on your home network are also vulnerable. Read about protecting your home network. 

How is your camera accessed?

Many people are aware that clicking on a link in an email from an unknown source could lead to a virus, yet some of these emails can appear to be sent from someone you know, making you feel confident to click (think Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta). Other common hacking tricks are known as phishing scams. Phishing scams are emails, website links and phone calls that appear to come from a legitimate business (e.g. your bank or your credit card company). These scams trick you into installing software or to share personal information so they gain access to your computer. Cybercriminals even go as far as creating legitimate looking pop-up ads with enticing promotions. It can be very tempting to click on an advertisement promising something for free or offering a great deal, so it is important to ‘think before you click’ and take some basic steps to keep your computer safe.

Reduce your threat

Educating yourself and thinking before you click are the best ways to reduce your threat. If you aren’t doing these already, be sure to follow these steps:

  • Use anti-virus or anti-malware software.
  • Make sure your operating system is up-to-date. In other words, "patch" often.
  • Delete your browsing history and cookies often.
  • Use a secure (“https” / site with a padlock) Wi-Fi connection whenever possible.
  • Do not use public wi-fi (even when you’re in a hotel room and you have to enter your guest info). Use a VPN or your cellular Hot-Spot.
  • Create a strong password on your home network and get in the habit of updating and changing up your passwords
  • Encryption is not just a buzzword. Make it a habit.
  • Do you value your work and time? Be sure to back up your data.
  • Do not use public USB ports or unknown USB sticks.
  • Always, think before you click! Be aware of “normal” activity versus “unusual and could be malicious activity”.

Cover it up

Protecting your devices from malware is the most important practice, but there are other actions you can take to make your camera more secure. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, recently appeared in the news after he posted a photo to Facebook showing a piece of tape covering his laptop webcam. Although security experts support taping your webcam as a basic and cheap security safeguard, there are better options available. Webcam covers can be purchased in many different shapes and sizes from websites such as and Some covers will still allow you to use the camera but then block it while it is not in use. Whether it is the DIY tape cover or something you purchase, get your camera covered up!

Get a free cover!

If you are attending the 2017 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference in Fort Worth, visit the National Air Transportation Association Compliance Services (NATACS) at booth # 1701 and pick up your FREE webcam coverWe look forward to seeing you and keeping you secure!

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NATACS is the aviation industry’s only full-service employee background investigation and HR Compliance Company. At the heart of our organization is this defining principle: make an important contribution to our clients' productivity by enabling them to be in full compliance with current and changing regulations and by providing high quality personnel security programs affordably and efficiently with impeccable integrity. 

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