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Office Prank Video Includes a Creepy Lesson: Your Web Cam Is Not Safe

"Really I’m thinking, did somebody hack in, you know, where they can see me?”

(Source: screen shot)

Before you take another sip of your coffee, check the camera attached to your computer or Internet connection. Someone may be watching.

This confused office worker got a creepy reminder of just how accessible electronics can be when his information technology support team streamed The Police’s famous “Every Breath You Take” through his unsecured camera feed and speakers.

Clearly the lyrics “I’ll be watching you” caught the man’s attention; it only took him a few moments to investigate the sound. But when the music stops after the first 30 seconds, the man calmly returns to work. When the music starts again, he begins to investigate.

“Really I’m thinking, did somebody hack in, you know, where they can see me?” The distracted worker laments to the camera support team before the IT folks hack in again, giving him a clue through the camera speakers, “Have you tried turning it on and off again?” with a laugh track underneath.

While the video was published in October, it's gaining traction now. And while it may seem like a one-time office prank, top hackers have proven nearly any camera is accessible, especially if you leave it powered on.

Even more troubling, the hackers could be thousands of miles away. Several open-source web sites give step-by-step instructions on how to remotely access, turn on, and record on someone else’s computer camera.

As this man’s IT department advised, at the very least, turn your camera’s power off when it isn’t in use. It may not prevent office pranks, but it will help deter unwanted “watching.”


Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.

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