Can People Really Spy on You Through a Laptop or Smartphone Camera?

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We’ve connected all of our gadgets to the internet, filled them with cameras and repeatedly played fast and loose with our passwords. What could possibly go wrong?

Popular opinion has it that no-good hackers are using their skills to gain access to the cameras within our laptops, smartphones, tablets and even home security set-ups. But how true is this?

Worryingly, it’s time to take the tinfoil-hat-wearing, webcam-covering conspiracy theorists seriously and man the panic stations. It’s not just webcam blackmailers you need to worry about: people can and are gaining an all-too-intimate look into our lives, and surprisingly easily at that. Hit the alarm and run for your life, we’ve got a code red.

While most fingers are pointing at hackers, it’s not just ill-intentioned internet whizzes spying on you. In recent years everyone from the security services to schools have been found to have spied on people using integrated cameras to track users (and in some cases, for far less wholesome reasons.)

Victims of webcam hacks have seen images and videos of themselves – regularly in states of undress or in compromising situations – uploaded to vouyerism websites. On top of this, there have been multiple instances of hackers using these unlawful techniques to spy on people they know.

It’s not just your laptop you need to be worried about either. Scarily, connected baby monitors have repeatedly been the subjects of unlawful viewing, while the Edward Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA long ago gained backdoor access to the cameras within your iPhone or BlackBerry devices. Read more at Popular Mechanics.