It’s been called a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem: putting a sticker or Post-It note over a laptop’s webcam lens is one way to stop unwanted spying from potential hackers (and, perhaps, government agencies). Sound paranoid? It’s a fix that even former FBI director James Comey and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have endorsed.
And yes, if you’re worried about someone hacking into your webcam, it’s a simple way to keep someone’s eyes off your face and whatever else you’re doing. But it’s not perfect and here’s why: while it may prevent the camera from capturing images without your permission, it’s still possible that your computer’s microphone could get hijacked to eavesdrop on your conversations. And it doesn’t prevent the myriad other devices, from phones to tablets to smart TVs to Internet of Things security cameras that might be in your home from being hacked as well. You might have to invest in a large pack of stickies.
As with anything online-security related, the only true way to make sure you are never spied upon or photographed without permission is to stay off the grid completely, which most of us are unwilling to do. But the Post-It trick, which has become a lazy screenwriting trope for someone serious about their web privacy, is at least easy, cheap and a step in the right direction.
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