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Taping Over Your Laptop Camera - Paranoia or a Smart Move?

Michael Harris
07.25.16
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As human evolves, so does technology. Nowadays, the using of our phone, laptop or video console is part of a daily routine that we need to face constantly, even if we are aware of its risks or not.

But concerning the fact that we brought into discussion the eternal battle between technology and its risks, today we will talk about a subject that you probably heard about, and if not, you probably have seen it several times. Should you cover your computer's webcam while you're not using it? What are the consequences of ignoring this fact?

Well, today we will give you 10 reasons for adopting this kind of practice and even if you'll decide not to follow our advice in the end, we are sure that you'll discover some interesting facts that you'd probably didn't take into consideration until now.
  1. Actually, it's not about paranoia. It's all about security.
If you're thinking that this practice means nothing but something that only overdramatic people are using to protect themselves, you're wrong. There were cases in which hackers got into someone's computer and activated their camera. Then, they saw all the things that happened in the room while the laptop was opened. So, the next time you'll think that this is nothing more than nonsense, take into consideration that a usual daily routine like changing your clothes and preparing for bed can be recorded by a hacker and then you could be blackmailed with the images.
  1. Even celebrities are doing it
Mark Zuckerberg tapes his laptop webcam
If you think that this practice might not have enough credibility, you should know that even Mark Zuckerberg is doing it. Recently, while he was filming a short video for his Instagram account, his fans spotted that the webcam from his laptop was covered. Of course, we could easily link this to the fact that, being one of the richest persons in the world, you can't possibly wait for haters to bypass you.

But, of course, good security guards the danger. Moreover, if you need some more evidence, take the FBI director, James Comey, that declared:

"I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera."

  1. People are starting to get used to the process
As we all know that nowadays security is a vital factor that influences our lives, more and more people begin to take action and get informed of the risks that an uncovered webcam over someone's laptop might imply. For example, The American Digital Rights Group EFF recently started to sell webcam stickers and they declared for The Guardian that people are really purchasing them on a regular basis.
  1. Don't trust us. Trust them.
If you still don't believe that by ignoring this simple procedure you're ignoring your right to security and freedom, we think that we should introduce you to Cassidy Wolf. She was the winner of the Miss Teen USA in 2013 and, probably because of this new status, she had to deal with a "sextortion" attempt made by one of her former classmates who was 19 years old. It is said that he used the Blackshades malware, released by Alex Yucel, a well-known cybercriminal. This gave him the possibility to take different captures of her classmate, Cassidy, while she was undressing.

The deal was basically self-understood: if she didn't give him more photos and videos with her naked, he would make public the ones that he had. However, in the end her classmate was arrested and sentenced to 18 months. Apparently, Cassidy wasn't his first victim.
  1. It has made its way through pop culture too
The phenomena of hacking exploit gradually started to appear in pop culture too. In "Mr. Robot", one of the most famous series of last summer, the plot revolves around the main character and his twisted life due to a hacker that got into her computer's camera and took advantage of every move that she made.
  1. Thought you had an escape solution? Think twice!
We are sure that when you heard of this procedure, the first thing that came up into your mind was that you are secured – because your camera has a light that turns on when it is working. Well, despite all, hackers managed to "resolve" this problem too. Apparently, researchers found out that hackers can turn on a camera without switching on its light, so be careful!
  1. PC or Mac – they make no discrimination
Don't think that if you have a Mac you're not predisposed to this procedure. The hackers make no discriminations. Their main goal is to achieve what they want, so if they have to dig more and more for further information or tricks, they'll do the job in real time.
  1. Spam emails – be careful to them
As the studies show, one of the most common ways in which hackers can get into your computer is through the malware loaded spam emails or documents, so you should be more than careful with what you receive in your inbox. Check them twice, get an antivirus program and stay away from the suspicious ones!
  1. Disabling the camera – a proper solution?
More and more people on the Internet say that the best solution in dealing with this problem is to disable the webcam. You can disable it either in the BIOS or UEFI. The problem is that this option is not available on all the devices. Also, one of the riskiest problems is that hackers can get into your computer and enable it again. So, all in all, this solution is not as good as it may seem.
  1. The ultimate trick – tape over your laptop camera
In this article, we tried to demonstrate you that no option can be more secure than taping over your laptop camera. Of course, this would be the ultimate solution, leaving aside the fact that a hacker might get into your bedroom, unstick it and then move back into his own business. We're joking, of course. So go and buy some tape and get this problem out of your head!
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