Should you cover your Webcam?

Webcam covered over

It’s a fair question. We have all seen people cover up their webcams with a wide variety of things: sticking plasters, post it notes, paper and tape. There are even devices being sold on the internet that attach to your laptop and have a slide to cover or uncover your webcam. Do you need them?

Famously, Mark Zuckerberg covered his up. F.B.I. Director James Comey said in an interview, “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”. Whilst there is no doubt there are people smarter than Mr Comey, is that a reason to do anything? No, it is not. Clever people make mistakes too – I’m clever and I’m on my second marriage.

Yes?

Quick, cover it! Yes you can – obviously. And let’s be fair, if you are rich or famous or in a position of trust, then maybe this is a good idea for you. If you are a famous person having sex in front of your computer, then I would beg you to cover it up. Please. In fact, cover it up now! I SAID NOW!

No?

No, not for me. Obviously, we can leave them uncovered. Mine is uncovered unless I am taking a picture to put on a blog of a webcam covered up. So why is mine not covered up? Easy really, my laptop is always up to date with any software and hardware patches. I have a good anti-malware installed that is trusted and I run scans at least weekly. I read things before I install them and I know what to look for (usually!).

Mainly, the chances of someone being interested in looking at a middle aged bald guy in a wheelchair scratch his head while working on a blog or grading papers, are pretty slim. There is no profit in it for them. I am not rich, famous or in a position of trust. I don’t do anything that can be exploited and when I’m not using my laptop I shut it down and close the lid.

Uncovered webcam looking free!

Basic Web Cam Security

So, you’re not rich, famous, having raunchy secret sex in front of your laptop on a regular basis or in a position of trust, and are, therefore, not particularly exploitable. Great. Should you worry? Well, hackers of this type are generally interested in financial gain.

If there is nothing to gain, they won’t bother. If you keep everything up to date, scan regularly and close your laptop when not using it, I would say not to worry yourself. There is enough to worry about in life – the second wife comment for example.

Unless you want to – but don’t fool yourself into thinking you would know and covering up a webcam doesn’t mute the microphone…

One Comment

  1. Neil Rumbold

    Also, if I may be so bold as add to your good advice, only install software from trusted sources and never, ever, use an administrator or other privileged account as your normal daily user.

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