Why should you cover your webcam? According to FBI Director Mr. James Comey, “All of us should put an opaque tape over our computer or laptop webcams to protect our privacy”. It sounds naive at first but what if Comey is right and they are watching us even if you are in incognito mode?

Why should you cover your webcam?

It is not just about Google, NSA or a team of FBI members. These people could be university teachers, criminals or creditors. Saving their front line image while going dark and creepy from inside. They will use your webcams to spy on you. They can use your microphones as well. Remote Administration Tool (RAT) is a popular tool for beginner hackers to spy on someone.

In Philadelphia, two high school students found out they are being secretly spied by their school management. The school issued them MacBooks which were pre-installed with an anti-theft software to spy on them. The students were being photographed by the school when they were at home. The case opened up when the school tried to threaten a student who was found guilty of doing drug dealing at home. Afterward, the school admitted their fault and claimed to capture thousands of photos. The case was settled for 600,000 US dollars.

Cases:

Luis Mijangos

Luis Mijangos was a Southern Californian man who was found guilty of spying on more than a 100 girls and women in 2011, including girls under 18 as well. He used a webcam malware to record their videos and microphones. Then he “extort” his victims, threatening them to leak their videos and nude images unless the victims do this again voluntarily for him.

Aaron Rent to Own:

A Wyoming couple sued Aaron’s rent to own chain after they detected their laptop webcam was being spied on by the same company. The couple was falling behind on repayments so a repossession man came to take the laptop. He gave the webcam photo taken from that software to show that the couple still had the laptop.

Women sleeping seen through the webcam. Source: Hacking forum

If you are high-profile like Mark Zuckerberg then you need to make sure that nothing on you should be hacked which could be a laptop, smartphones and even a camera or microphone. Almost no electronic equipment is allowed in the U.S government SCIF. Most of the highly sensitive organizations don’t allow this equipment as well. They have classified data and this data could be put to risk if any electronic gadget would be allowed in these departments.

A woman pocking her nose on webcam. Source: Hacking forum

Any smartphone app can be fitted with a bug that could lead the hackers to use your smartphone, see your messages or even have a look at your album. By downloading and installing the app, you are accepting thus giving them your permission. But still, it is not easy to hack a smartphone compared to laptops or PCs.

Uber:

Uber has been accused of using its customer’s data; sharing and selling it to the marketing companies. For instance, the Uber app tracks you from your GPS and it will see which restaurants you go to and where do you spend most of your times. This does not even need an internet connection. The collected data can be exploited very easily. And there are no limitations. They can literally see what’s on your smartphone if they want to.

A layman would think that who would target me. I’m just a nobody. But they target people like us. They go deep into our profiles and our privacy only to bring out our dark secrets and then use it against us. The solution is simple. Put an opaque tape over your webcam. You can also disable the microphone internally or externally. If you are having a very private conversation in your room, make sure there is no laptop or smartphone in the room. Your friends will think you are delusional but let them think. Save yourself!

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