On television, we often hear that hackers easily infiltrate anyone’s computers, and this can raise further concern among users who are naturally anxious or fearful for their privacy.
Unfortunately, this danger is not so remote: hackers can actually take full control of our computer or portable device (smartphone or tablet) and, with the right tricks, turn on the video camera or webcam, without us being able to notice it.
For this reason, we have decided to make a complete guide in which we will show you how to tell if someone is spying on the camera on both computers and popular portable devices.
We suppose that, if the hacker is really good, we will not notice anything even by checking every corner of our PC or smartphone: the best really manage to hide the clues like nobody else in the world.
If the violation occurred through an application, malware or installed program, we can put an end to the spying by removing the permissions of the suspicious application or by uninstalling the application that is spying on us.
Find Out If Your Camera or Webcam Has Been Hacked and Spied On
First, let’s run three basic checks to see if the webcam is being used without our knowledge:
1) Check the webcam indicator light:
If the light next to the webcam is on even when not in use, someone is probably watching. However, keep in mind that it is easy for malware or an application to spy on the webcam without turning on the LED indicator.
2) Webcam already in use
If you try to open an application that uses the webcam, you get the error that it is already in use, find out what is using it.
3) Control of saved audio and video
If there are videos or audio files in the webcam recordings folder that we did not make, then we have been hacked.
If we are afraid that someone is spying on us with the webcam of our computer, we can verify which applications have access permissions to the webcam by taking us to the Start menu at the bottom left, opening the application. configurations by clicking on the menu Privacy and finally opening the menu Camera.
We scroll through the window that opens until we find the section Allow desktop applications to access the camera and check what programs are included.
Usually, we will find third party browsers (Chrome and Firefox) and some other apps on this screen, but if we notice some suspicious apps, we immediately remove the check mark from the switch. Enabled present in the same section and go to the application path, so that we can uninstall it.
In case of problems in the deactivation of a process or some malware, we can clean the system by reading the tips that are seen in our guide How to remove malware and viruses from an infected computer.
It is also very important Check browser add-ons. If you restart the computer and then open one of the most used browsers (Chome, Firefox or Edge), the webcam light turns on automatically, there is a browser plug-in that is using it. To find out which one, you will need to remove all the extensions one by one.
What to do if the webcam is spied on or hacked
1) Turn off the webcam immediately
This is the first effective step to prevent webcam hacking. Then disconnect the webcam from the computer or, if it is built into the monitor, disable it from settings or press the right mouse button in the Windows 10 Start menu, go to Device management, locate the webcam and right-click on it to disable it.
2) Keep Windows firewall active, going in configurations > Update and security > Windows security > Network and firewall protection.
3) Run a virus scan, with Malwarebytes or other antimalware.
4) Change all passwords for compromised accounts, as explained in another guide.
5) Do not use the webcam if it is connected to a public network. If so, trust a VPN to secure your connection.
How to check if the camera is spying on Android
Identifying spy apps on an Android device may not be that simple, as many hackers exploit deceptive apps, malware hidden within legitimate apps, and hackers taking advantage of the phone’s administrative permissions.
To carry out all the necessary checks, let’s go to Settings> Security> Device administrators (or alternatively in Privacy -> Special Access Applications -> Device Management Application) and check which apps have admin permissions.
If we find some strange application active on this screen, it is most likely that a hacker is spying on us, who now has full control of the device (even spying through the front camera or the rear camera).
To fix this, we remove the check mark of the suspicious application activated as administrative, identify the name of the application and uninstall it from our device as we do with any other application.
Things get worse if we also have superuser (root) permissions active on the phone: in this case, the malicious application could take administrative permissions at any time, without our intervention.
In this sense, it is always advisable to check the superuser permission management application ( SuperSU O Magical ), to check for any suspicious apps that shouldn’t be there.
Finally, we recommend that you take a regular look at the screen at Settings -> Privacy -> Permission Management -> Camera, to check which applications are allowed to access the camera.
If we notice anything suspicious, just open the app and deny permission to access the camera. For more details, we recommend you read our guide Authorize app permissions on Android.
How to detect spy apps on iPhone and iPad
On iPhones and iPads, it is more difficult to spy on the camera, as the applications can only be installed from the App Store (where they are all controlled).
In any case, we can check if there are spy apps or parental control apps (used as spy apps) that access the camera taking us along the way. Settings> Privacy> Camera.
If we notice suspicious apps on this screen, remove the check mark next to the app’s name and proceed to uninstall it, as also seen in our guide.
Another method used to spy on the camera on iPhones and iPads involves the use of custom VPN profiles, which the user rarely notices. To carry out these types of checks, let’s take the path Settings -> General -> VPN.
If there are any strange active VPN profiles, it is best to remove them as a precautionary measure, to reduce the risk of being spied on without our consent.
By reading the guide carefully, we will be able to intercept all spy applications that allow you to activate the camera of our device and spy on us without our consent.
As already mentioned, most hackers are able to hide their clues well and spy on us even if we always check the screens seen in this guide; To protect ourselves, we must necessarily use good antimalware and always update our operating system.