Mark Zuckerberg Puts Tape Over His Laptop Webcam and Microphone – Does That Mean You Should Too?
The internet was abuzz this past week when a photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s desk arrived online.
Mark was innocently celebrating Instagram’s milestone of reaching 500 million users (Instagram is owned by Facebook).
At first glance, the image seems fun and silly. Zuckerberg (@Zuck) is holding a cardboard cutout of an Instagram frame that features 500 million likes.
But if you look in the left corner of that image, you’ll see that Zuckerberg’s laptop has some weird things going on. The laptop and microphone are both covered by tape.
If one of the wealthiest tech entrepreneurs in the world today is putting tape over his webcam and microphone, then does that mean you should do the same thing? I mean, Zuckerberg and Facebook can obviously afford to outfit Facebook with the world’s best security.
Photo courtesy of TechSpot.com
So if they’re worried – should you be too?
Zuckerberg Isn’t the Only One
Earlier this year, FBI Director James Comey stated that he started putting tape over his laptop’s webcam after seeing someone “smarter than I am” do the same thing.
These two join thousands of people who do the same thing – including a large number of celebrities and CEOs.
So if the FBI Director and the CEO of Facebook are doing it, should you?
Let’s find out the truth.
Yes, Hackers Can Access Your Microphone and Webcam
Here’s the scary part: hackers can legitimately hack into your system to access your microphone and webcam. An attacker equipped with the right tools can remotely activate your webcam, spy on you through that webcam, and record audio conversations using your microphone.
That’s something that not only can happen, but it already has happened before.
Norton – the PC security firm – tells one frightening story about such a situation happening to a PC security expert:
“Steven Fox, an IT security expert, was chatting with friends on his webcam one night when he started receiving some strange emails. Imagine his surprise when he opened one and found images of himself chatting.
His webcam had been hacked by a “script kiddie,” a person who uses malware written by someone else to show off their skills at accessing other computer systems, says Fox. He quickly detached the webcam, but he had to re-install his operating system after he found malware installed on his computer.”
That article goes on to describe how a network of Chinese hackers called GhostNet was able to crack 1,295 webcams in 103 countries.
So yes, it can happen and it does happen every day.
How to Protect Yourself
The bad news is that your webcam is a weak link in your PC security. The good news is that you can fix that weak link with some pretty basic steps. Follow these steps:
-Install Anti-Malware Software: We’re obviously biased here at Fix My PC Error, but there’s a reason our editorial team consistently recommends Total System Care. It comes with SafeBytes software and can enhance your security and privacy. You should have at least one software program like this installed on your system.
-Follow Smart Internet Protocol: The vast majority of all viruses and malware come from the internet. You can defend yourself from 99.99% of all viruses with intelligent browsing habits. Avoid downloading suspicious email attachments. Use a fully-updated browser with modern security features (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.). Don’t download and install .exe files from untrustworthy websites. It’s basic stuff, but people break these rules every day and get punished for it.
-Use a Firewall and Strong Anti-Virus Software: Modern security software typically comes with firewalls. However, your router should also have a firewall.
-Avoid Putting Webcams in Sensitive Places in your House: Even if you follow all of the above tips, you might still become a victim. To avoid the damage of this possibility, place your laptop and its webcam in a low-traffic, low-risk area of your home – like your kitchen. Avoid doing anything too embarrassing in front of the webcam. You just never know.
If you can follow these rules, you can stay protected from some of the most devastating hacking attacks on the internet today.