Covering Your Laptop Camera: Not As Paranoid As It Seems

Last year my uncle told me that he taped over his laptop camera. At first I thought that he was being a little too paranoid. He isn’t a celebrity or a billionaire, why would someone hack him? I recently accepted the fact that he was actually right about taking this precaution. An article from The New York Times grabbed my attention mentioning that even Mark Zuckerberg has a tape over his laptop camera. The article explains how a hacker can gain access to your camera and why is it necessary to cover it up.

Not long ago Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture on Facebook where in the background his laptop camera and microphone jack appeared to be covered with tape. Zuckerberg, being the creator of Facebook, left a big impression about this topic on social media. Mark Zuckerberg was probably concerned about hackers gaining access to his devices by using remote-access trojans — a process called “ratting.” Simply, hackers trick people into clicking on links which lead them to unfamiliar websites containing malware (software that acts against the best interests of the user) that allow them to access to their devices. This security measure is a good decision for him, especially because he is a high-value target.

He is not the only high-profile who takes this precaution. James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. tapes over his camera too. However, people who are not a high-profile target are not without risk. Anyone’s webcam can get hacked and their images can be used for extortion. This is a growing problem especially for young women. The idea that you could be being watched any time is terrifying, given the fact that many people keep their laptops in their living rooms and bedrooms. The easiest and the cheapest solution would be to cover it up, to ensure that you are safe, at least physically.

Zuckerberg’s covered up webcam and microphone

An article from The Science Explorer mentions that there were some cases where people have actually gone to prison for hacking into people’s laptop cameras and recording them while they undress, and then blackmailing them to make them send pictures. When there are such vicious people all over the internet, the best choice is to just cover up your laptop camera. This doesn’t prevent the hackers from going into your computer, but obviates the danger of being watched and getting blackmailed. It’s a basic but an effective security safeguard. I think it’s considerable due to the fact that this kind of hacking is getting more common everyday. Women especially should be more cautious about it since they usually tend to be the targets for this kind of hacking.

After reading the articles I’m thinking of doing it as well. We live in a world where hacking has turned into a hobby and a pleasure for a considerable amount of people. Therefore no one is safe unless they take the necessary precautions. A little piece of tape won’t harm anyone.