University of Southern California

Security Recommendation: Cover Your Webcam

Posted on by mechling

There’s a reason why Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and FBI Director James Comey cover up their webcams with tape: webcams are a potential security risk. A hacker can take over your computer’s camera remotely and use it to record your movements without your consent. Researchers revealed that it is possible to hack into a webcam while disabling its indicator light, leading users to believe the webcam is turned off when it is actually recording. Hackers have recorded victims without their knowledge and blackmailed them for the footage.

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself, including the standard security recommendations of installing antivirus software and keeping an eye out for suspicious emails, which may contain malware that would allow a hacker to access your machine. Even if you are checking all these boxes, there is one additional best practice you should employ: physically cover your webcam when you are not using it. A small strip of opaque tape makes for easy, effective protection should your webcam be compromised.

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