Does Covering Laptop’s Webcam with Tape Save You from Security Risks?

Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal shared his experience about how his webcam was hacked, leading to home network hacking and MacBook Air cracking. Though operating systems showed resistance against it, Stern intentionally played role in doing so.

A social engineering expert and Chief research and development Officer at Security Scorecard, Mr. Heid hacked the webcam of Windows 10 laptop. Stern received a word document which Microsoft’s built-in anti-virus, Windows Defender flagged and deleted. He intentionally disabled the anti-virus and opened the document despite Microsoft’s warning which was dismissed. In short, he himself let the hacker do his work by playing along.

In the case of 2015, MacBook Air which had the latest MacOS version, Mojave, malware was embedded in the .odt document. To run the open source file, LibreOffice was downloaded by dabbling the Mac security setting that prevents downloading from unverified developers. Then the macro security settings were turned off as asked by the hacker.

According to the above information, if a user is ready to install anything, without verification and disabling different security settings, there is no way to maintain the security of the laptop or webcams. It is like letting the hacker do it all by himself.
Related: Google to soon launch file encryption system for entry-level smartphones
There are people who try to hide their camera by covering it with tape or sticky notes. This is of little or no help as a hacker can easily manipulate users to remove the cover on the cam of the laptop.

Modern operating systems warn users every now and then about the security risks through various attempts to save from hackers. Therefore it is important that laptop enterprises educate their users about not to ignore the warnings by the system. They should also not accept every command given by a random folk who is being dealt with remotely.

There are laptops which do not have a built-in camera and USB camera are attached to them. This maybe prevents an attack from the surface only but cannot entirely stop bad actors, as they can easily ditch into sending information through email. Even if cameras are covered with tapes, built-in microphones in modern laptops still could be a worrisome thing.

It is advised to not to reuse the old passwords anywhere and also change the ones that might not be strong enough and easy to guess. This could be more beneficial than covering webcams.

If covering webcams make you feel protected, then it can be done using any electrical tape or sticky note. There is no need to buy anything special for it but very important to keep in mind why you are doing this and how you can save yourself more effectively.

Should you worry about covering your laptop’s webcam?

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