Cyber Peeps: Someone's watching you - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cyber Peeps: Someone's watching you

Your home computer is at risk, and you may not even know it!  Hackers are logging in and watching you!  There are ways to protect "you and your family."

It's estimated 170 million people use laptop computers worldwide.  The majority of them have built in web cameras.  You may have never used yours, but it's probably there.

"You don't even have to look for it as a special feature anymore. It just comes with the computer," said Dan Ackerman, CNET.

With the web cam comes the opportunity for people to use malicious software to control that camera.

"Many laptops now have 3G or wireless capabilities built into them, so being portable they can be used anywhere and can be put in places that are private, places that people might not want to be seen," said Justin Vellese, FBI.

Places like your hotel room on vacation or in bed while you work or shop at night.

Now, imagine someone tapping into that web camera to watch you.

"They're hacking in… remotely…into your computer, and able to watch you," asked resident, Lem Robson.

"That makes me a little bit nervous actually," said Jimmy Nelson, resident.

"That's a major security issue," said Daniel Kotarba.

Well, it's happening.

"There is malicious software that can turn on the web cam. Turn it off. It's possible they can even turn off the light that indicates the web cam is on," said Vellese.

And with the light off, you have no idea someone is watching.

It's a new twist on the peeping tom. And it's a crime that is growing, according to the fbi.

"Given the fact that this malware is readily available on the Internet to somebody with a limited amount of education. They don't have to be a computer programmer," said Vellese.

A quick search on google will reveal all kinds of information for criminals looking to hack a web cam.

And not just your computer's camera, but any web cam, from security cameras to daycare cams.

You tube videos give them a step-by-step how-to.

So what can you do?

"Make sure your firewall is turned on at all times and you have your anti-virus, anti-malware apps running constantly," said Ackerman.

Or, want to make it easy on yourself. If you're not using the camera you can either disable it by simply putting a post it over it or if it's plugged in via usb, unplug it.

The FBI considers the crime cyber terrorism. If it happens to you, they advise getting help fast because odds are you are not the only victim.

Copyright 2012 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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