Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg celebrated Instagram’s growth Tuesday by posting a special photo of himself. But the Instagram achievement isn’t what people are talking about today. It seems a sharp-eyed reader noticed some pieces of tape on Zuck’s computer. They cover his MacBook’s camera lens and microphone/headphone jack. Even FBI Director James Comey uses tape on his camera lens.
You could do worse than follow their examples. It’s a crude but common and effective way to protect yourself from trojan malware that, once embedded on your computer, enables hackers — or your child’s school or the NSA — to watch or listen to you … or both. And the camera light doesn’t come on to warn you, either.
If you want to be sure you aren’t being watched, cover the camera lens. And check to make sure the tape or sticker is opaque enough to do the job (start up Skype or other camera program). Blue painter’s tape, for example, only makes the image a little foggy. And sticky notes can fall off. Another option is to order special stickers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation or other sources. They’ll do the job, raise awareness, and not leave a sticky residue on your screen.
Muting the mic on your computer won’t stop eavesdropping because some intruders can unmute it. Instead, use a dummy plug in the microphone jack, which is likely more effective than a piece of tape. You can easily make one by cutting the plug portion from an old microphone cord.
Odd, isn’t it, that Zuckerberg is so careful with his personal security when he’s so nototiously lax about privacy for his millions of Facebook customers.
Anyway, Wired Magazine covered all this in an article two years ago, but it bears repeating periodically.
No, it’s not paranoid. It’s prudent.