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Cybersecurity experts said hackers are broadly exploiting the explosive growth in the use of webcams by using malicious software to quietly take remote control of the devices, sometimes within minutes.
A Toronto woman was photographed watching Netflix by a hacker who commandeered the webcam on her laptop.
The term "webcam" (a clipped compound) may also be used in its original sense of a video camera connected to the Web continuously for an indefinite time, rather than for a particular session, generally supplying a view for anyone who visits its web page over the Internet.
Some of them, for example, those used as online traffic cameras, are expensive, rugged professional video cameras.
When sent to a remote location, the video stream may be saved, viewed or on sent there.
Unlike an IP camera (which connects using Ethernet or Wi-Fi), a webcam is generally connected by a USB cable, or similar cable, or built into computer hardware, such as laptops.
Despite the low cost, the resolution offered at present (2015) is rather impressive, with low-end webcams offering resolutions of 320×240, medium webcams offering 640×480 resolution, and high-end webcams offering 1280×720 (aka 720p) or even 1920×1080 (aka 1080p) resolution.
Not to creep you out, but someone might be spying on you. The web-connected cameras on your laptop and cellphone — and your doggie-cam and baby monitor, too — are digital peepholes for hackers.
Same goes for your smart TV and home security system.
Should you put a tape or a sticker over the lens of your laptop's webcam?
Yes, even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and FBI Director James Comey do that.
We know the FBI and NSA's ability to spread malware and turn on device's webcam to spy on targets.