Zuckerberg secures his computer with tape

A reader noticed tape on Mark Zuckerberg's laptop. (Photo: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg)
A reader noticed tape on Mark Zuckerberg’s laptop. (Photo: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg)

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.

Two pieces of tape make Zuckerberg's computer more secure.
Two pieces of tape make Zuckerberg’s computer more secure.


19 thoughts on “Zuckerberg secures his computer with tape

  1. Hmm. It’s not audio and visual I’m concerned about. I mean, it’s not like I blog in the nude or something. (I don’t. Isn’t that a relief?) But I would be concerned if some malware conveyed all my keystrokes. So far, no evidence of that, thank goodness.

    1. What incensed me was knowing that a few years ago a school supplied computers to its students that were set up so the school could “monitor” the students. The parents, as I recall, weren’t told about it. And there was another time, when some parents discovered hackers were watching their teenage daughters in their bedrooms. I remember thinking at the time that a simple piece of tape would solve the problem, but never got around to it. I tried the painter’s tape last night and it wasn’t dense enough. Duct tape or electrical tape might work, but then you might have adhesive gunk left on your screen if you ever removed it to use you camera. (And no, I don’t blog in the nude either. But I sure look like hell in the morning.) And I never leave my laptop open when I’m not using it. Afraid the cat will knock it off the tray table it sits on.

        1. BTW, if I were a hacker and got into your computer, I’d go for the whole ball of wax — camera, mircrophone, and keystrokes.

          I know it hasn’t happened. There have been zero reports of anybody dying of boredom!

  2. Be ware…big brother is waiting and watching. Where there is a will there is a way. Government corruption is no accident!

  3. Is this fair dinkum? Can somebody watch what I’m doing through the camera thingy thats on the computer even though I haven’t switched the camera on? As for the mike; where the hell is that? I never use the camera or a mike as far as I know? Am I at risk?

    If so I’ll sit here starkers and frighten all the blighters away!

    1. LOL. That’ll teach ’em!

      But yes, it’s true. Hackers can turn on your camera and mic without your knowing it. On a laptop, your headphone plug probably functions as your mic. On a desktop computer too, as I recall.

      Your risk is probably miniscule when you consider how many computers there are in the world.

  4. There is something inherently WRONG with me; Der Führer does NOT approve! For I DON’T GIVE A FUCK whether someone malwarish hacks his way into my life. You see my avatar? That beautiful (left) eye is a component of a beautiful face. So: OGLE ME O HACKER MOTHERFUCKERS.

    And! I’ve never attempted to gain the launch codes nor to do insider trading. My credit score is -289. Hack me. Hack my life. Steal my identity and buy a Snickers.

    1. LOL. Well, I still have a few shekels set aside, and pathetic as it may be, my identity is mine and mine alone. So yeah, I care.

      However, you had to go and mention Snickers, and I have a few in the freezer that suddenly sound awfully good.

... and that's my two cents