For most people, the idea of your phone camera being hacked is a very worrying prospect. It’s a natural thing, we don’t like the idea of being spied on 24/7, and we especially don’t want someone actually watching us.

Being worried about the cameras on our devices spying on us is nothing new – people have been covering their laptop webcams with tape for years now. However, most people would be shocked to know that there is commercially-available spyware that is specifically designed to hack a mobile device’s camera without the user being any the wiser.

As well as being widely available, these spyware products are available for as little as $30 per month, and some can even be used for free for a limited time. The availability of these relatively easy-to-use tools also means that the technical ability needed to hack a victim’s phone and use the camera to spy on them has been dramatically reduced. In theory, all someone would need to do is install this spyware onto the target device and follow the instructions provided by the developer.

Of course, this depends on the device and the operating system that it is running. If the device is running Android then it is potentially much easier to install the spyware and bypass the inbuilt security features. With iOS it can be more difficult, and would require a hacker to ‘jailbreak’ the device in order to get around the built-in security. Whilst these methods can be somewhat technical, it’s not out of the reach of a lot of people, with the right information.

In most cases, a hacker would require physical access to the device they are looking to infiltrate, for a short time. They need the opportunity to install the spyware they want to use to control the device’s camera, and any prerequisites such as a Jailbreak.

How Can Spyware Control Your Phone’s Camera?

There are various spyware products available on the market, many of which are competing based on the features they can offer to their users. Hackers sometimes make use of these features to blackmail their victims, or they sell their photos and videos to people on the black market. Some of those features include:

  • Photo capture – There are many different spyware products that can secretly take photos from a phone camera (either front and back – or both at the same time). This is done remotely and again, the victim is completely aware. All the photos are automatically uploaded to a cloud server where they can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • Video recording – Spyware such as FlexiSPY can take a video using the phone’s camera. It’s discreet – recording the video without the victim knowing anything. The video can then be uploaded directly to an online database.
  • Remote camera monitoring – Alongside being able to capture video and photos, perhaps one of the most worrying features is the ability to watch someone ‘live’ through their phone’s camera. This could potentially allow the hacker to broadcast the video live onto streaming sites, or even on the dark web.

How To Know If Your Phone Camera Is Hacked

This is particularly difficult, since the methods used to hack and install the type of spyware that can control the phone’s camera or microphone, are not easily detected. It takes either specialised knowledge – or sophisticated software that can detect an attack like this.

If you’re worried about your mobile privacy and want to find out if your Android or iPhone camera has been hacked, then the best thing to do is install security software that can detect spyware on your device.

Certo Mobile Security (for Android) and Certo iPhone (for iOS) are able to detect malicious software, such as spyware that can access your camera and microphone remotely.

If you are interested in scanning your device for any evidence of hacking, as well as any spyware that could control your camera and microphone, we recommend you check these tools out.