Amidst the surging use of video conferencing platforms during the pandemic, a global study of 15,000 people conducted by global cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, Kaspersky has revealed that almost 25 per cent of online users permit apps and services to access their microphone or webcam. This is despite increased awareness on webcam security, with nearly six in ten users worried about being watched through their webcam without their knowledge, while 60 per cent are concerned that this could be done via malicious software.
With the said technologies enabling users to navigate work, social and entertainment needs during the pandemic, more people are now willing to allow apps to access their microphones and camera. While 27 per cent of people aged between 25-34 always permit access, 38 per cent of respondents over 55 years never do.
"For sure, many people aren't instantly familiar with security protocols related to webcam usage and cybersecurity processes. However, what we are observing now is a strong positive trend of increased awareness around online safety and potential threats," Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.
"This leads to more proactive consumer behaviour like taking preventive actions and checking permissions before allowing video and microphone access," they added.
Kaspersky also suggested measures to ensure safety while using webcams, including investing in a simple but dedicated webcam cover when the tool is no in use covering multiple devices, including PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Kaspersky also recommends sufficient caution and exercising mindful consideration around apps and the permissions they request by only allowing access when the app needs it for the service they provide.