You’re not paranoid for covering your webcam

Posted on Sep 18 2016 - 4:03am by TekGuru
Image result for tape over webcamFBI Director James Comey offered up a little security tip: cover your webcam. This is no laughing matter, Comey said that nearly every computer in every government building has a webcam cover in order to prevent “unauthorized” people from spying on federal employees.

“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them. You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing,” Comey said, reports 9to5 Mac.

As odd as it sounds, the FBI director is actually right. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, also covers his webcam – as the internet discovered not to long ago.

The internet  magnified a photo that shows Zuckerberg’s webcam is covered by a little piece of tape. The real question is, how well does this work? Anything that obstructing the view of your webcam is certain to keep it from seeing you, but is a piece of tape a worthwhile security measure?

The short version of it is, that yes it actually is. FBI Director James Comey isn’t exaggerating in saying that your webcam could be used to spy on you without your knowledge or consent.  A study published back in 2013, security researchers at Johns Hopkins discovered a way to remotely disable the indicator lights MacBooks manufactured before 2008. Further, the researchers were able to use malware to hijack the webcam’s video and audio feeds.

The FBI has itself tried to use similar methods to gather evidence in at least one case. As Slate points out, a federal judge once denied the FBI’s request to conduct remote surveillance on a suspect by hijacking his webcam remotely.

So, if a piece of tape can keep the government out of your personal life, then it is one easy security measure worth doing. And it is one of the cheapest out there.

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