I get spam emails that claim that my browser has functioned as a keylogger and that my camera has been recording. Is this possible in Xubuntu without root access?

Description:    Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS
Release:    16.04
Codename:   xenial

Yes, it is possible, you don't need root for that.

For example:

  • Someone with physical access
  • Someone within your local network when you have open ports (e.g. port 22 = ssh) and use weak passwords.
  • If you have open ports and forward them to your computer and use weak passwords.
  • You installed software from a bad source (malware).
  • You use outdated software that accesses the internet.

But ... I think in your case it is quite unlikely.
I would say, if these guys really had access, they would send proof.

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