Do you need to physically cover your webcam?

It’s the ubiquitous little lens that’s probably staring back at you right now. We all know it’s possible for hackers to gain access to your webcam to spy on you, but is it really necessary to physically cover your webcam?

In today’s environment of near-constant data breaches and daily intrusions into our online privacy, it’s strange that actually covering your computer’s webcam still seems a bit extreme.

But there have been many cases of criminals using malware to hijack people’s webcams in order to find footage suitable for extorting the victim, whatever that may be. Other reasons for taking over your webcam include watching you enter passwords and other sensitive information.

Read: Cyber black market selling hacked ATO and myGov logins

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, made headlines back in 2016 when he posted a photo of himself online showing what appeared to be a piece of tape over his laptop’s webcam.

So, if the CEO of one of the world’s largest companies and a former intelligence chief feels the need to cover up, should you?

Jonathan Young, associate vice-president of Vantage Technology Consulting Group, told the Huffington Post that although it might feel like overkill, having a physical barrier blocking your camera’s view of you is a cheap and easy way to give yourself peace of mind.

Read: Will banning data ransom payments work? Could it backfire?

“Webcam blockers are useful primarily because people sometimes turn on or leave their cameras on unintentionally,” he said.

“Or, people have multiple cameras – laptop camera and standalone camera on an external monitor – and the wrong default might pop up and transmit work information or an embarrassing or otherwise inappropriate view.”

Of course, you can use tape to cover your camera, but there are more professional and stylish camera covers available as well. A quick Amazon search shows literally thousands of different models in all sorts of shapes and colours.

Read: Your privacy rights given data breaches and identity theft

There’s obviously a market out there for camera covers, so you’re not alone in feeling the need to physically protect your privacy.

But as to whether you actually need to cover your webcam, that’s entirely down to your personal preferences and your general level of risk tolerance online.

Do you cover your webcam? Would you buy a webcam cover? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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