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Nearly a quarter of users studied say they ‘always’ grant webcam and mic permissions

The study found more users were aware and concerned about their webcam being misused.  The study found more users were aware and concerned about their webcam being misused. 
The study found more users were aware and concerned about their webcam being misused.  (Unsplash)

However, it looks like awareness among users has also improved, with over 60 percent of 15,000 people in the study stating they were worried that their webcam could be compromised to monitor them. 

User awareness about privacy and data security has increased tremendously over the past decade, with every new revelation about data leaks sparking new conversations about safeguarding privacy. However, an alarming amount of users readily give away information via their devices, according to new research from Kaspersky.

Also read: Google's 'Teacher approved' apps mislead on kids' privacy: Activists tell FTC

The security firm found that nearly a quarter of users online always granted permissions to access their device’s webcam and/or their microphone. After studying around 15,000 users, the company found that 23 percent (around 3450) users allowed services to access the sensors for most apps and services. It also found that among the people studied who stated they always allowed access, 27 percent of users were between 25-34 years old.

A visual representation of the responses by the study's participants. 
A visual representation of the responses by the study's participants.  (Kaspersky)

However, in more positive news, the study also nearly 59 percent of users (around 8850) of users in the study was worried that their webcam could be compromised to watch them, while the percentage of users who believed that malicious software could be used to achieve this was slightly higher at 60 percent. The company says that older respondents aged 55 years or older, made up around 38 percent of the people studied and said that they never granted access to apps and services by default.

Kaspersky also recommends users follow some useful tips, if they want to protect their privacy while using a webcam:

1.Purchasing a simple, dedicated webcam cover to cut off the visual access when you’re not using it.

2.Use a software solution that can warn you when an app is trying to access the microphone.

3. Keep track of which (and remove those that you don’t use anymore) of your apps currently have access to the webcam and microphone.

4. Using the company’s Privacy Checker tool to enable privacy settings for social networks based on the level of privacy they want on each platform.

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