While you might enjoy playing Peek-a-Boo with your baby, you probably will not enjoy playing it with some black hat hacker or a Russian mobster. By that, I mean allowing the world to see you through the camera on your computer. They can. They are. And they will.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to prevent that from happening. Just turning the camera off is not a solution. The operating system for your device is so well written that it allows things like the camera to be turned on and operated remotely without any notification appearing on your screen. See, I saw that shocked look you just had.
Since 2013, a growing number of vendors are offering things to cover your camera’s lens. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a sticker with a special adhesive that say “These removable stickers are an unhackable anti-surveillance technology.” Another vendor offers a stylish cover based upon the television show “Mr. Robot.” And Sam, the ClearanceJobs secret squirrel, even has his own ClearanceJobs branded camera cover.
Got Tech? There’s a Hack for That
In March 2014, WIRED noted that it is not just camera covers that are needed. Anything you own with a microphone, your computer, your phone or one of those smart speakers like the Echo can be hacked and be an information source. If it is listening for you, someone could be listening to you. Unfortunately, the site offered no easy solutions.
While most of these kinds of hacks will probably be used to watch college co-eds in their bedrooms or to blackmail unwary adulterers, there are national security implications. Everyone carries a phone. Everyone brings their laptop to meetings. The hack may not reveal top secret intelligence but even the slightest bit of information, in context, can become a tool.
All that to say, if you have the choice – keep it covered.