Some think I am crazy (that’s besides the point) for covering my the webcam on my laptop. I do, and although I have not not been a victim of an attack (at least not to my knowledge) there are several reasons for doing so.
Hackers. A third party, a hacker, can active your camera app. A hacker can be anyone. The term hacker is used in popular media to describe someone who attempts to break into computer systems.
What is one of the favourites of hackers? your webcam.
Now, you can go out and buy a nice webcam cover online. Me, I use black electrical tape that works just fine.
Here’s why you should.
Blackmail should be at the top of your list of reasons for covering your webcam. Some hackers collect compromising photos of users with the aim of or threat of exposing the pictures to emails and the social media. Can be very surprising seeing your ‘private’ photo(s) on Facebook or Instagram. We all have them.
Perverts. You have heard of the deep or dark web. If not, click here. It’s much easier than you think to access the deep or dark web, where anything goes. There, in the dark corners of the internet, men’s cameras can go for as much as 25 cents, but women’s cams can go for $25 or more, depending on the content.
Other uses for your hacked webcam can include industrial espionage to spying on relationships (including your own partner may be looking on you) to confirm any doubts of infidelity.
The nay-sayers tells us that built-in laptop webcams can only be compromised if your computer is first compromised. Maybe true, but why take the chance? A hacker can break into your computer and you would never know it. Others argue that you have to be a pretty attractive target for someone to want to break into your computer, but then from everything I have read, so many hackers do so because they can or prove they can and your computer/webcam is one at random.
In my case, my laptop is almost never off, it rarely gets closed down. Even when I am not there. Although the screen is blank and my laptop is on sleep mode, a simple touch of the mouse or keyboard it wakes up. If you are like me, how many times have you come back to your laptop and the screen was on, even though no one touched it? Call me paranoid.
Although I do not have, rather keep, compromising videos and photos on my laptop (all is kept in a separate drive not permanently connected to the laptop), I like my privacy.
Never mind the hackers. Here is another point for covering your webcam. On multiple occasions, I myself have accidentally hit the video chat option when I didn’t even intend to call anyone, let alone use video. Imagine the surprise of your callee (the one receiving your call) of you while in bed or on the sofa or at your desk and not exactly fully dressed? Depending on who you just video called, it can be pretty bad or exceptionally good.
Having said all that, you don’t have to cover you webcam, if you NEVER EVER connect your laptop to the internet. If your are not connected to the internet your laptop cannot be hacked.
After reading scary stories on Quora about webcam hacks also confirmed me it was a good idea. And so should you.
What about your cell phone or tablet? That’s for another day.