by Graham Pierrepoint
FBI director warns users to cover up their webcams --
The internet may be more protected than ever with safer security protocols and user-friendly firewall and privacy protection available to anyone and everyone, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous – after all, anyone likely to want to steal data from innocent parties will likely try everything within their power to do so – making the game of keeping up with internet crime a long-running saga that will likely never come to a close.
FBI director James Comey, however, has imparted advice upon the laptop-using public that many may not have considered – to ensure that your webcam is covered or blocked when not in use. While the advice may seem fairly bizarre or even unorthodox on paper, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was seen to be implementing this very strategy on his own system – meaning that there may be some weight to keeping your lens covered unless you’re actively using it. Comey’s advice comes with a warning that anyone that can hack into a private computer will be able to take control of certain hardware such as a laptop’s built-in webcam and use it to spy on its owner – a thought which may make many a keen Skyper reconsider their habits in future. While there is currently no data to suggest how prevalent webcam seizure is worldwide, it is certainly possible for such access to be granted to anyone with the know-how and the want to do so.
The security concerns come in a week where it was discovered that an incredible amount of information can be retrieved from the sharing of your plane boarding pass online – leading travellers to be advised to keep their holiday sharing purely to sightseeing snaps. The way in which we share information has changed dramatically over the past decade, and so has the way in which we find ourselves at risk of theft – making it all the more important for those of us who are regularly active online to protect ourselves against any likely risky scenarios.
Many may think that the laptop coverage warning may be unnecessary – but with several companies producing bespoke covers for laptop webcams the world over, there is certainly a need and a market for ensuring that any potential eyes into your world stay closed until you are ready to broadcast yourself. The stance from the FBI remains simple – if in doubt, cover your lens!