Worried I’m being spied on

pupovacs

Commendable
Aug 9, 2016
1
0
1,510
0
Is it possible for a hacker to access webcam footage from the past, and not the present. If so how difficult would that be? What information would be required
 

canadianvice

Distinguished
Jul 25, 2012
234
1
18,915
47
"So if i never saved any recordings from my webcam, is it not possible for someone to trace its use?"

So, the terms you're using are somewhat loaded. The way I see it, the only thing of worth someone would want out of a webcam is video and photos. Unless your system has been directly compromised by malware and such as suggested by inzane4all, the would not have access to this. Basically, as long as you're not distributing any of your recordings online and you don't have any malware or on your system, they cannot get access. It is worth noting though that if they have your system compromised, they can give the order for the camera to record, or alternatively record it on their end. They cannot however get anything that someone has not been around to order that for - in other words, they can't get access to any past information the camera has processed.

In terms of "tracing", if they had the access to do that, you have larger problems, but there's really nothing useful. I'd imagine the webcam would leave logs in the event viewer, but they would not in and of themselves be useful in any way.

The thing is that your webcam, unless actually requested to record, basically streams data to show the current image it sees on your camera app. There's typically no filesystem footprint left from this, because it never writes to the disk. Anything not written to disk is generally lost when the computer turns off.

In sum: If your system is not compromised via malware or physical access, you really don't have anything to worry about. Keep in mind that if you're doing anything you wouldn't necessarily want people to see on your webcam.... you're best to not be doing it, because people screw up and make mistakes and you don't want that to be the only barrier to others having access to things. In terms of what I've said here, "system" should be considered to mean online accounts and such as well. For any of them security has to be compromised first, but that comes with varying difficulty depending on who's responsible for managing it.

I don't mean to suggest any lewdness or anything, but as it's a possibility in this day and age, I feel it deserves specific mention.
 

canadianvice

Distinguished
Jul 25, 2012
234
1
18,915
47
Like... stored files? They'd need to compromise your system and from there reading back file data is pretty easy.

Webcams in and of themselves don't have )ersistence unless you've saved the recording to disk.
 

inzane4all

Great
Jun 20, 2018
15
0
70
1
There are MANY ways hackers can get your data, either through Brute Force Attack or by installing malware/spyware that collects that data. I mean, if your installing software that is not legit (torrenting), your risking it. If you are visiting Phishing sites, your risking it. Even visiting a regular site, if someone has hijacked it, your data can get exposed. There are VARIOUS other methods of course.

My best advice to you is not to leave anything on your system that you wouldn't want to get out.
 

canadianvice

Distinguished
Jul 25, 2012
234
1
18,915
47
"So if i never saved any recordings from my webcam, is it not possible for someone to trace its use?"

So, the terms you're using are somewhat loaded. The way I see it, the only thing of worth someone would want out of a webcam is video and photos. Unless your system has been directly compromised by malware and such as suggested by inzane4all, the would not have access to this. Basically, as long as you're not distributing any of your recordings online and you don't have any malware or on your system, they cannot get access. It is worth noting though that if they have your system compromised, they can give the order for the camera to record, or alternatively record it on their end. They cannot however get anything that someone has not been around to order that for - in other words, they can't get access to any past information the camera has processed.

In terms of "tracing", if they had the access to do that, you have larger problems, but there's really nothing useful. I'd imagine the webcam would leave logs in the event viewer, but they would not in and of themselves be useful in any way.

The thing is that your webcam, unless actually requested to record, basically streams data to show the current image it sees on your camera app. There's typically no filesystem footprint left from this, because it never writes to the disk. Anything not written to disk is generally lost when the computer turns off.

In sum: If your system is not compromised via malware or physical access, you really don't have anything to worry about. Keep in mind that if you're doing anything you wouldn't necessarily want people to see on your webcam.... you're best to not be doing it, because people screw up and make mistakes and you don't want that to be the only barrier to others having access to things. In terms of what I've said here, "system" should be considered to mean online accounts and such as well. For any of them security has to be compromised first, but that comes with varying difficulty depending on who's responsible for managing it.

I don't mean to suggest any lewdness or anything, but as it's a possibility in this day and age, I feel it deserves specific mention.
 
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