How to stop your webcam getting hacked

You've probably seen the news about webcams being broadcast online so here's how to stop your webcam getting hacked. Read: Governments act against webcam-snooping websites.

It's been well documents over the last few days that a new site, Insecam, claims to exploit thousands of webcams from around the world – whether it's a back garden, shed, driveway or even rooms inside people's houses.

It seems that the site might be routing IP streams through its own servers, allowing ads to be served alongside the pictures of whatever the webcams are setup to view. Clicking on an individual stream gives you the IP camera's location, the model along with the username and password.

Although the site appears to be a lot of video images quickly replaced by "broken picture" icons, you may be vulnerable to hacking if you have a webcam in your house. We've got you covered though and it should be easy to stop this happening.

See also: How to turn a PC or laptop webcam into a CCTV system for free.

The main problem here is that the webcams which have been hacked into are using default and easy to guess usernames and passwords – typically 'admin' and 'password'. Some don't even require a password.

If you have a webcam and you're worried about it being accessed by an unwelcome third party then you should change both the user name and password. You can do this easily with the software supplied with your webcam. We can't show you step by step as it will vary between manufacturer.

This simple change will stop this kind of exploit but if you're really worried – particularly ones built-in to laptops or PCs - then you can also stick a piece of tape over the lens when you're not using the device!