By being able to activate either a webcam or microphone on a PC, laptop or smartphone, intruders can listen in on sensitive meetings and conversations and even know where the meetings are held, who attended, and everything about what was discussed. It is of course illegal to record a conversation without obtaining permission of the person or persons being recorded, but keep in mind even web conferencing software allows for proceedings to be recorded and no permission is asked.
There are plenty of vendors selling spy software, some designed for "professional" business use and marketed as a way to track employees, such as a product for employee monitoring made by Inter Guard. These days, there are hundreds of spying products to choose from, and the best of them facilitate surreptitious webcam and mobile cam spying.
A major case gained notoriety in California where a now-20 year old Jared Abrahams "illegally hacked into the laptops of several young women in the U. and abroad, then took control of their webcams in order to film and photograph them while they undressed." According to the FBI, the scam included web cam pictures of Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was a classmate of Abrahams.
Such spying falls into a gray legal area, but once it goes onto a mobile device, it clearly intrudes on privacy outside of the work space. Corporate spying also facilitates insider trading, where the "insider" gains privileged access to your webcam, mobile camera or microphone.
The extent of stock exchange manipulation and trading of sensitive investment and competitive information from computer and smartphone spying is unknown.
He is working on his Ph D at MIT and writes a blog called Snacks for Your Mind.
Sidor's latest "snack" is a demonstration of how the cameras on your Android Smartphone can be turned on without you knowing it, and sequential photos sent to a third party over the Internet.