A website that displays all currently unprotected and open webcams across the web in real time and the database we all bunk in together already.
The other day I was having a conversation with a fellow blogger about writing. I had been following their work for a couple months now and admired how honest they were about their own life experiences thus far. It seems honesty is a finite resource in the blogosphere. Especially when it comes to our own personal recollections.
However, my praise was met with a luke warm reception. As if some sort of self fulfilling prophecy – everything they didn’t want – they told me it was because of this honesty they were taking a break from writing. They felt they had shared too much. Putting themselves out there was simply too risky.
It’s hard to blame their cautious apprehension in n an ever increasingly wired world we are almost predisposed to the overshare. With an ever increasing wealth inequality in the real world, we the people seem to own less than ever before. Not being able to afford our own comfort spaces we’ve turned to real-estate in imaginary places. The web. Where our flats and palaces alike are furnished by our inner thoughts, accomplishments and failures.
And like an auctioneer we’ve invited into our living rooms, it’s all for sale.
Above is a more nefarious example of information prices on the dark web. But there are much more common and legal practices being used and not by your standard sexually frustrates hackers from the movies but by companies you know and thought you could trust.
But that’s not really why we’re here today. In 2022 we all basically have thrown the towel in on our own personal privacy practices when it comes to user agreements and handing over our basic information to Big Tech.
What if the information being harvested isn’t just what we divulge on our blogs or Facebook? What if it’s more than just our age, genders and consumer history we’re giving up? What if it’s our faces?
If you’re using a modern desktop computer, laptop or even a tablet to read this look up above your screen. Does it have a built in webcam? Is your webcam secure? Are you absolutely certain?
Opentopia.com is a website that demonstrates how many webcams, security cameras and any other non secured device is accessible via the internet. The website crawls search engines and takes snap shots of every open stream it can find every three hours. Security cameras inside businesses, popular tourist attractions, traffic cams… webcams. Anything not secure can and will make its way on to this site.
Even if you’ve never done anything particularly compromising in front of your computer, any sort of possibility of a look into your actual life should be met with a high level of vigilance. I also wouldn’t hold your breath about any level of government holding tech companies responsible for their shiftiness or poor security measures in its consumer products anytime soon.
So how do you secure your webcam?
Well there is good news and very bad news (more on that later). The good news is there are some pretty good, easy and effective ways to secure your webcam. Due to the pandemic not all of these are possible with many still working from home but there are quick fix solutions for the paranoid.
– Small piece of tape over the camera. Or even a folded up piece of paper over the lip of your laptop whenever you use it.
– Simply disabling your webcam should be okay barring the presence of any hacker or Malware on your system that could easily over ride those controls.
– If it’s old school hardware – simply unplugging the webcam at all times when it isn’t in use is obviously effective as well.
While this is all incredibly elementary- it all remains the most effective. Generally the biggest X factor between user and user security is the user itself. Safe practices make for safe environments.
For those that are in a situation that require their webcams be open and free often be it for work, or otherwise then a good up to date Anti-Virus software could be perfect for your situation. Many affordable Anti Virus programs now monitor your computer and hardware’s performance in real time with specific webcam security functions. Like this product from Kapspersky ( https://usa.kaspersky.com/internet-security )
The bad news? They already have all of our faces and have for years. And by, “they” I mean – law enforcement, retail security and any other group, agency or business willing to pay a premium to identify anyone in a crowd.
All The World’s A Stage Part 2: A Clear View Into Dystopia will be released next week.