View TCP connections in Windows
You can also see active connections in Windows. This will let you know what programs or services may be using the Internet and could be sending data. Is the webcam sending information and should it be turned off? There may be an intruder.
To see them TCP connections on Windows we can use the command netstat. It shows us the connections and listening ports, which applications and files create connections, statistics, etc. For example, to see the applications and files in a list showing the ports, we can run netstat -b. To do this you have to go to Start, open the Command Prompt with administrator permissions and run it.
Error message when using it
Typically, if you’re using the camera in a program, an error appears when you start it in another. It basically says that the webcam is already being used and to close the process. What happens if you are going to use the camera in Skype, for example, and the system gives you that warning? It can certainly mean that there is a malware that is using it.
If you come across this case you should take action immediately. You would have to check why it appears and, unless you are already using the camera in another program, it may have been caused by a cyber attack.
When you use the webcam, for example to take a photo or make a video, you will have the option to save a file to the system. What it does is create that video or that photograph to be able to use it. But of course, what if they appear? recording files that you have not started? There is something weird.
That is yet another proof that the webcam could have been hacked. It does not mean that every time the camera has been attacked it will save a file for you, but it is certainly an important sign if you see that it has been saved.
If you go into the Windows Task Manager you can see all the processes that are started. For example programs that are running. You will also be able to see if certain devices are connected or not. You will be able to know if the camera is started at any time.
To do this you have to press the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Delete and enter the Task Manager. There you have to click on Processes and see if any process related to the webcam is running. This does not mean that we have suffered an attack, yes or yes, but if you see that this process should not be running, there is something strange.
Why and how to cover the camera
It’s good cover the webcam? It is certainly something that many users do, especially with the laptop camera. In this way we make it impossible for an attacker to record what we do, since they would not directly obtain an image. Of course, the sound is a separate point.
Covering the webcam will help maintain privacy at all times. There will be no risk that any malware can control it and start recording us. Therefore, whenever we are not going to use it, we can take into account the option of covering it or disconnecting it. Let’s talk about these options.
The first option is to put a physical cover. This is very widespread in laptops. In fact, some models already have a built-in tab that we can open or close and expose the webcam. It is a really simple element and we can find it on Amazon at a very good price.
Its operation consists of sticking the cover in the area of the webcam and we can open and close it with a simple movement. When we go to use it, we simply open it and that’s it. In case we want it to not work, we will only have to cover it.
In case you have an external webcam, of those that connect by USB cableYou just have to unplug it. This process is the simplest and you don’t need anything more than that. As long as you are not using it, you keep it disconnected and you will save yourself doubts or possible problems that may appear.
These types of devices are usually Plug and Play, so if you have to use it at any time, you’ll just have to connect it via USB and it will quickly start working again without any problem. You will not have to install drivers or configure anything additional.
Another option, and this one works for both laptops and desktops, is to unplug the camera from Device Manager. Go to Start and open Device Manager. There we have to go to cameras, we look for the one that interests us (in case we have several), we right click with the mouse and disable device.
From that moment the camera will not be available and will not work. To get it working again you have to go to Device Manager and enable it. The process is simple and fast. It doesn’t matter if it’s a built-in camera or an external, USB-connected one.
How to protect yourself
After seeing how we can know if they have hacked our webcam and how to turn it off, we are going to give some general tips to increase protection. In this way we will avoid malware and attacks that can put privacy at risk and control the computer’s camera.
keep everything up to date
An essential point to always maintain safety in our equipment is keep everything up to date. Sometimes vulnerabilities arise that can be exploited by attackers and exploited to control the webcam or any other component of the computer. That is why it is important to have all the patches and updates.
But this must also be applied to the webcam driver itself. In this case we have to go to Start, Device Manager, go to Cameras and there we click with the second mouse button on the corresponding camera and click on Update driver.
Install a good antivirus
Having security programs will help us detect dangerous files or any false program that has sneaked into us. In the case of webcam attacks, they can use Trojans to control the system and have access to recordings or to be able to see live through the camera.
A good antivirus is essential. For example Windows Defender it’s a good option. Also others like avast or bitdefender. We must install this type of software no matter what operating system we have. In all cases it will help enhance network security.
But beyond an antivirus, we can also count on other applications such as a firewall or even browser extensions. They are going to be an interesting complement to be able to have a good defensive barrier.
Avoid unofficial programs
Are you going to use any program to make video calls such as Skype? Is important that it is official, that we have downloaded it from reliable sites, and thus avoid problems. Sometimes we can come across applications that have features and functions that seem interesting, but are not official.
That could be used by a hacker to control the camera. The program could have some malware that allows access to the system and compromise our privacy and security. Therefore, you always have to download the programs from their official website or use official stores such as the Microsoft Store or Google Play.
But if there is something important to avoid security problems, it is common sense. It is essential not make mistakes. For example, a mistake would be downloading an attached file that reaches us by email without really knowing who may have sent it or if it could be a virus or not.
Keep in mind that most attacks will require user interaction. They will need us to click somewhere, download a file, install a program… Therefore, we need to maintain common sense at all times and not make mistakes.
Webcam attacks are not uncommon. Although it is not something that is really widespread, the truth is that there are methods by which they can control the webcam. It is important to know how to detect it, correct it if necessary and, most importantly, be protected at all times to avoid problems of this type.
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a webcam built into your laptop, if you connect it via USB, if you use it more or use it less. You should always take measures so that your privacy is not affected and you can use your computer in complete safety.