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Is Your WebCam a Peeping Tom? How Your PC’s Camera Can Be Hacked To Spy On You.

webcam spy

Virtually every computer sold today comes with a dirty little secret.

It can spy on you.

What’s more, if hackers can infect your computer with malware they can hijack your webcam and secretly watch you too – regardless of whether they’re based down the street or on the other side of the world.

In some cases, if they’re really sneaky, hackers can even spy on you without the LED on your webcam lighting up.

If you have a webcam – and almost undoubtedly you do if you have a cell phone, pc, laptop, tablet or home (or commercial) camera security system with an Internet connection – then you are at risk of being hacked via your camera’s IP address.

All a hacker needs to do is figure out where your camera is located, and then a stalker can watch your every move.

Luckily, however, there are ways to protect yourself from unsavory or unwanted people spying on you in your own home or business.  We will teach you how to easily protect yourself from being covertly observed without your consent.  But first, let’s explore how a webcam hack can occur. (The more you know, the less vulnerable you are.) For the purpose of this instructional, we will refer to a pc but this information also applies to all of your other electronic devices with cameras.

How Can A Stalker Hack Your Webcam:

To get on your computer, hackers use a remote access tool, or a RAT. If you’ve ever had a tech support rep access on your computer remotely to change settings or try to fix a problem, they used a RAT.

Fortunately, RATs require your permission to let someone on to your computer remotely; the person can’t just take control. That means a hacker has to trick you into letting them on to your computer, and there are several preventable ways they do that.

How Do Hackers Trick You Into Accessing Your PC:

To get a RAT on your computer, hackers have a number of tricks: fake email attachments or malicious links , Trojan viruses, phony tech-support calls, and so forth. Once you’ve been tricked into running a file, clicking a link or otherwise  inviting them on to your system, they will take control and spy on you at will.

Think you are too tech savvy to fall for scam email? Click anywhere on the below indented paragraph to take this quick quiz from our friend, tech goddess Kim Komando, to see if you, like 80% of those surveyed, will fail to distinguish between real email and phishing scams.

Back in December, CBS News joined forces with Intel Security to create a quiz where readers can test their knowledge on phishing emails. The quiz consisted of 10 different emails in which readers simply need to decide: legitimate email or phishing email?

Surprisingly, out of nearly 20,000 people quizzed, 80% fell for at least one of the phishing attempts. Only 3% got a perfect score.

What about you? Take the quiz and see how you do. 

How Can You Spot a RAT?

(Our first line of advice is to avoid unsolicited email attachments and links, run up-to-date security software and thoroughly vet anyone who contacts you claiming to be tech support for a major, known company. Also, you may not know that Windows has a RAT built in. Almost all Windows OS versions contain a RAT for ease of access for real tech support.)

Firewall and Antivirus Software

Firewall software blocks incoming and outgoing port connections, so they are your number one defense against RATs. Firewalls combined with antivirus software catches most threats.

View Processes Running

Right-click your Windows toolbar and select “Task Manager.” Click the “Processes” tab in Task Manager. This window gives you a list of programs running on your machine. Review them for any strange names or names that you don’t recognize as typical programs. If you don’t recognize the name, type it into Google. Several sites tell you if a process is malicious, so you know if you have a RAT on your system.

Odd Startup Programs

In some cases, the hacker might want another program to start when you boot your computer. If you notice any strange programs that start up when you boot your computer, you might have a RAT. These secondary programs are usually malicious software also, so you’ll need to remove them when you remove the RAT.

View the List of Installed Programs

Open Windows Control Panel and view the list of programs installed on your computer. If you notice any odd programs, then it could be malicious. In fact, the popular software TeamViewer used to collaborate remotely with people is often used as a RAT. If you didn’t install it on your computer, you should remove it. This application gives remote access to authorized and unauthorized people.

Slow Internet Connection

If you normally have fast speeds but lately your Internet connection is extremely slow, you should first check the router and wireless connection. However, if the hacker is downloading information from your computer, he uses the bandwidth and creates noticeable lag on the network. If you suspect that someone is remotely accessing your computer, the fastest way to stop it is to disconnect from the Internet.

A security recommendation, protect any and all access to your electronic devices with a really strong password.  This first line of defense has a very high success rate in keeping out most hackers.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

 

 

Married? Age? Kids? Can You Ask These Questions of Employment Candidates?

Image result for employee interview asking questions

Can you ask a prospective employee her age?  Is the candidate married?  What about a phone number for an emergency contact?

With employment regulations one of the fastest changing sectors of human resources and company personnel management today, we compiled an employment interview Can/Can’t Ask questions list for you today from hiring information from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration.

Address/ Housing/Length of Residence

CAN ASK:

• Place and length of current and previous address

• For applicant’s phone number or how s/he can be reached

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST:

• Specific inquiry into foreign addresses that would indicate national origin

• Names or relationship of persons with whom applicant resides

• Whether applicant rents or owns home

Age

BEFORE HIRING ONLY:

• If a minor, require proof of age in the form of a work permit or a certificate of age

• If age is a legal requirement, can ask “If hired, can you furnish proof of age?” or a statement that hire is subject to verification of age

• Whether or not an applicant is younger than the employer’s regular retirement age

AFTER HIRING ONLY:

• Require proof of age by birth certificate

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST:

• About the age or age group or date of birth of the applicant

• Birth certificate or baptismal record before hiring

• Questions that would tend to identify persons between 40 and 60 years of age.

Ancestry/ Birthplace/ National Origin

CAN ASK:

• “After employment, can you submit a birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship or other proof of the right to remain in or work in the U.S.?”

• About foreign language skills (reading, speaking, and/or writing) if relevant to the job

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• If an applicant is native-born or naturalized

• The birthplace of applicant

• Questions which identify customs or denomination

• About birthplace of his/her parents, grandparents and/or spouse or other relatives

• Require applicant submit a birth certificate or naturalization or baptismal record before employment

• About any other inquiry into national origin (for applicant or his or her spouse or parents; maiden name of wife or mother)

• First language

• Date of arrival in U.S.

• Port of entry Citizenship CAN ASK:

• Whether a U.S. citizen

• If no, whether intends to become one

• If you are not a U.S. citizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in the U.S.?

• If not a citizen, are you prevented from lawfully becoming employed because of visa or immigration status?

• If spouse is a citizen

• Statement that, if hired, applicant may be required to submit proof of citizenship.

AFTER HIRING ONLY:

• Require proof of citizenship

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• “Of what country are you a citizen?”

• If native born or naturalized (for applicant or his or her parents or spouse)

• Proof of citizenship before hiring

• Whether parents and/or spouse is native born or naturalized

• Date of citizenship (for applicant or his or her parents or spouse)

Credit Rating NO questions may be asked regarding credit. 

Criminal Record (Arrests and Convictions)

CAN ASK:

• About actual convictions other than misdemeanors that relate reasonable to fitness to perform a particular job

• About convictions or imprisonment if crimes relate to job duties and conviction or release from imprisonment occurred within the last ten years

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• To inquire about arrests without convictions

• Check into a person’s arrest, court, or conviction record if not substantially related to functions and responsibilities of the particular job in question.

• About any involvement in demonstrations

Disabilities

CAN ASK:

• Whether or not applicant is able to carry out all necessary job assignments/functions and perform them in a safe manner “How would you perform this particular task?”

• Applicant to indicate how and to what extent they are disabled. Employer must indicate to applicants that (1) compliance with the invitation is voluntary; (2) information is being sought only to remedy discrimination or provide opportunities for the disabled; (3) information will be kept confidential; and (4) refusing to provide information will not result in adverse treatment. accommodation(s) he or she may need until after the interviewer has established that the applicant is qualified for the job and is considering that person for employment. An employer must be prepared to prove that any physical and mental requirements for a job are due to “business” necessity” and the safe performance of the job. Except in cases where undue hardship can be proven, employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for the physical and mental limitations of an employee or applicant.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST:

• How or when disability occurred

Education

CAN ASK:

• What academic, professional or vocational schools attended

• About language skills such as reading and writing foreign languages

• Office skills

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• Specifically ask the nationality, racial or religious affiliation of schools attended

• To ask how foreign language ability was acquired

Experience

CAN ASK ABOUT:

• Applicant’s work experience, including names and addresses of previous employers, dates of employment, reasons for leaving, and salary history

• Other countries visited

Family/Relatives

CAN ASK:

• If the spouse is employed at the company/firm

• Names of applicant’s relatives already employed by company

• Names and addresses of parents or guardian of minor applicants

AFTER HIRING ONLY:

• To ask name, relationship and address of person to be notified in case of emergency

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• Name of a spouse

• Whether or not a spouse is employed

• How much a spouse earns

• Whether or not a spouse is subject to transfer

• Questions about any relative of a candidate

• Names of relatives not working for the institution

• Name or address of any relative of adult applicant, other than those employed by company/firm

Gender/Sex Inquiry

AFTER HIRING ONLY:

• Can ask about gender for affirmative action plan statistics

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• Sex of applicant

• Anything which would indicate gender unless job related.

Health/Physical Condition

CAN ASK:

“Do you have any physical, mental or sensory handicaps which might affect work performance or which should be considered in job placement?”

May NOT ask

• “Do you have any handicaps?” or questions that divulge handicaps which do not relate to the job.

• Any questions regarding having received worker’s compensation.

Marital/ Parental Status  

BEFORE HIRING:

• Whether applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities, commitments, or responsibilities that may hinder the meeting of work attendance requirements. If such questions are asked, they must be asked of both sexes.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• About marital status before hiring (married, single, divorced, engaged, etc.)

• About the number and age of children

AFTER HIRING ONLY:

• Married or single status for insurance and tax purposes Number and ages of dependents and age of spouse for insurance and tax purposes

• Information on child-care arrangements

• About pregnancy and if applicant plans to have (more) children

• Any question that directly or indirectly results in limitation of job opportunity in any way

Military Service

CAN ASK:

• Inquiry into service in U.S. armed forces

• Branch of service and rank attained

• Any education or job related experience as it relates to a particular job

• Require military discharge certificate after hiring

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK ABOUT OR REQUEST

• Military records

• Military service of any country other than the U.S

• Type of discharge

Religion/Creed

CAN ADVISE:

• An applicant about normal hours and days of work required by the job to avoid possible conflict with religions or other personal convictions

IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK/REQUEST

• Applicant’s religions denomination or affiliation, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed

• Applicants may not be told that any particular religious groups are required to work on their religious holidays.

• About applicant’s religion or religious customs and/or holidays

• Recommendations from church officials

As with anything else in the workplace, when hiring, exercise common sense, compassion and restraint in asking for unnecessary personal information.  Stick to the task at hand – hiring skilled, competent and willing workers.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Top Five Spy and GPS Gadgets for 2015-2016

We are augmenting our weekly Beacon Bulletin with this awesome list of spy gadgets from our friends at Brickhouse Security and Cheaters – from the TV show of the same name and KJB Security Products.  We highly recommend, however, that before even considering any surveillance, know your state’s laws on hidden recordings:  Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press and  the legal use of GPS tracking: lawyers.com.

Wall Adapter Spy CameraThe wall adapter fits in any room & the specialized camera can easily capture video of everything happening in front of it.  CHTRS.

 

Electrical Outlet Hidden CameraThis high-quality hidden camera is battery operated & would be appropriate for use in any scenario.  CHTRS.

 

Tracking Key Pro GPS LoggerLow-Cost Car Tracker Show You Everywhere The Car Went Records GPS location data every second Put on a vehicle, let it drive, and use a computer to see everywhere it was.  Precise accuracy within 2.5 meter of device.   Very small, portable design.   Powerful built-in magnet to place underneath a vehicle.   Runs on 2xAA batteries.  No monthly service charges.  BRICK.

 

iTrail GPS LoggerThis tiny GPS data logger is ideal as a covert personal GPS tracker. Hide it in a bag or car and retrieve it later for a full travel history.  Captures Location, Speed & Time.  Just Retrieve and Connect Device to Any Computer.  No Monthly GPS Monitoring Fees.  BRICK.

 

KJB Security Products Recover It USB Stick (Forensic Data Recovery)Search your smartphone or PC for over 25 types of files. See deleted emails, videos or pictures.  Save, view or delete chat logs.  Find hidden images by searching Internet cache files and deleted pictures.  Shred selected file/extension types permanently.  Search for chat logs or image files. KJB.

(The above gadgets are meant for personal use and are easy, user-friendly for the novice but capable enough for the professional.)

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

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