Who Could be Accessing Your Phone Camera?
When a user grants an app access to their camera and microphone, the app could do many thing like phone camera spying. Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viber. They can:
- Access both the front and the back camera!
- Record you at any time the app is in the foreground.
- Take pictures and videos without telling you.
- Upload the pictures and videos without telling you.
- Upload the pictures and videos it takes immediately.
- Run quick face recognition to detect facial features or expressions.
- Livestream the camera on to the internet.
- Detect if the user is on their phone alone, or watching together with a second person.
- Upload random frames of the video stream to your web service and run a proper face recognition software which can find existing photos of you on the internet and create a 3D model based on your face.
They can record every move of you, from brushing teeth to going to work. To grabbing a bite to eat with co-worker to intimate moments with a loved one. This is the power of apps that have access to your camera and microphone.
A NSA program called Optic Nerves revealed by Edward Snowden. By using this program they captured webcam images every five minutes from Yahoo users’ video chats and then stored them for future use. It is estimated that between 3% and 11% of the images captured contained undesirable nudity.
Generally your every moment can be tracked through your mobile device(both Androidand iOS). Government security agencies like the NSA can also have access to your devices through in-built backdoors. This means that these security agencies can tune in to your phone calls, read your messages, capture pictures of you, stream videos of you, read your emails, steal your files, etc. at any moment they want.
Hackers can also gain access to your device very easily. They can access via apps, PDF files, hacking tools, multimedia messages and even emojis. Also, hackers are able to install malicious software or app on the device of unsuspected user. They can do it through it phishing attacks or suspicious attachments. Moreover, by using keylogger they can steal all of the users’ passwords. From there, hackers can take pictures or stream videos withthe victim’s camera. Actually , some of this content is even being streamed live in the dark web.
An application called Metasploit on the ethical hacking platform uses an Adobe Reader 9 (which over 60% of users still use) exploit to open a listener (rootkit) on the user’s computer. You alter the PDF with the program, send the user the malicious file, they open it and now you have total control over their device remotely.
Once a user opens this PDF file, the hacker can then:
- Steal all documents from the device.
- Take pictures and stream videos from their camera.
- Install whatever software or app they like on the user’s device.
- Capture past or live audio from the microphone.
- Use a keylogger to grab all of their passwords.
If it’s not enough that your phone is tracking you, surveillance cameras in shops and streets are tracking you, too.
You might even be on this website, InSeCam, which allows ordinary people online to watch surveillance cameras free of charge. It even allows you to search cameras by location, city, time zone, device manufacturer. Also, you can specify whether you want to see a kitchen, bar, restaurant or bedroom.
What Are the Benefits of Phone Camera Spying?
Benefits of Phone Camera Spying for Parents
The peace of mind that comes with knowing your children are safe should not be underestimated. Your children might be on a night out or worse kidnapped.
Benefits of Phone Camera Spying for Employers
It helps you ensure employees who work from home are at their computers when they are billing hours or that teams who have offsite visits are actually at the site. Also, it helps in preventing employees from sharing sensitive information with a rival company. Gather information to protect your business and protect everything you’ve worked so hard to build.
Benefits of Phone Camera Spying for Individuals
It will help individuals increase safety. Imagine you call your spouse and she/he isn’t answering. In such cases it will be very helpful spying on him or her, in order to check if any thing is wrong.
How to Avoid Phone Camera Spying?
In order to prevent phone camera spying follow these tips:
- If you ever think like your phone is hacked, mostly the camera is being used by any of the installed apps for which you have granted the permission to use the camera.
- Check whether there is any unwanted or malicious background process that is running that could be using your camera.
- Check whether you have installed or is using any third-party applications that might be using your phone camera.
- Always install and use apps from the play store. The security in other third-party applications will not be up to the mark or these apps may be some useless adware that will be just eating your data and phone memory.
- There are very fewer chances of being camera hacking. If you feel that your camera is hacked. Do not worry.
- Simply force stop all the camera data and clear it at all.
If this article achieves anything, I hope it teaches you digital mindfulness. This is the act of being careful on the internet and taking precautionary measures to save yourself.
A good first step to counteracting these issues is study what permissions an app asks for. Does an app like LinkedIn really require camera access? Does an app like Twitter really require microphone access? Before you download an app, check out the reviews and search for any negative information about it to prevent yourself future harm.
Always make sure to cover your webcam with tape, and plug out your microphones when you’re done using them. You never know who’s watching, or what’s happening in the background on your device.