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You Should Cover Your Laptop Camera With Tape, Tech Experts Warn

Hackers are accessing laptop cameras and blackmailing the owners with private screenshots

| 2 min read

Hackers are accessing laptop cameras and blackmailing the owners with private screenshots

Mark Zuckerberg does it, and so does the director of the FBI. Some people will say that covering a laptop camera with tape is simply paranoia, but tech experts claim it may be necessary in today’s hacker-prone world.

Of course, high profile people like Mark Zuckerberg and the FBI director may have a lot more to be worried about than most people, but Liam O’Murchu, the Symantec Director of Security, says that covering a laptop camera with tape isn’t just paranoia — hackers will access these cameras and watch what you’re doing.

“We see that quite a lot actually,” he said in a Tech Insider video, “and not just on your computer.” He says hackers can access home cameras, baby monitors, and security cameras as well.

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According to O’Murchu, hackers will access live video streams from cameras, watch what people are doing, and then take screenshots to blackmail them with. He says there have been instances where people have actually gone to prison for hacking into laptop cameras and taking footage of people as they undress, and then blackmailing them afterwards to try and get them to send more pictures.

Ethan Wolff-Mann over at Cameras Reviewed says that a common way that hackers get access to cameras is through clickjacking. Hackers create invisible buttons over what appears to be an ad, and by clicking to close it, the computer connects to a script that activates the camera. Then, another simple script can disable the webcam light so people won’t even know that it’s turned on, he says.

It sounds like a relatively simple process for hackers to break into people’s laptop cameras, but covering the webcams with tape is a simple way to protect yourself. You know what they say — it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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