We’re surrounded by technology. Our laptops and phones are never far from our sides, but with the growing worry of hackers accessing our devices, should we be concerned about unscrupulous people looking at us through our webcams?
After the Director of the FBI, James Comey, admitted that government offices in the US cover their webcams so that “people who don’t have authority don’t look at you”, many people have woken up and started to take this idea more seriously.
This notion became far more talked about after a post from Mark Zuckerberg contained a picture with his laptop in the background. Upon closer inspection, the microphone and webcam on his laptop were covered up with masking tape.
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Now, we do have to keep in mind that FBI Officers and the CEO of Facebook are much more prominent targets for hackers compared to the average person on the street. The contents of their laptops would probably be far more interesting than the thousands of cat pictures that inhabit our devices. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take some extra care too.
For someone to get access to your webcam it’s highly likely they would first need access to your computer. The standard internet safety tips are the most relevant here.
Ensure that your anti-virus is up to date at all times, and do not open e-mail attachments unless you are expecting them from people you know. If you’re downloading anything while browsing the internet, make sure that you’re getting it from the original source. For example, if you need to update Flash, make sure that you get it directly from Adobe’s website.
As long as you follow the general internet safety advice, keep your machine virus free and you’re not a notable public figure - it’s unlikely that you’ll have someone try to specifically target you to active your webcam without your knowledge.
Having said that, the best way to avoid worrying about this ever again is to go and get some tape, and make sure that all your webcam will see is darkness until you decide otherwise. You can’t put a price of peace of mind.
Would you like to be able to view your Netflix or Amazon content where ever you like? Have a look at our guide to remove DRM.