A Business Technology Place

Do you cover your webcam?

Do you cover your webcam with a piece of tape?

Over the past several years I’ve noticed that many colleagues in the office cover their webcams with a piece of tape. Maybe they’ve read about incidents of camfecting or maybe they are just paranoid of any intrusion to their privacy. It may seem like a Hollywood movie script but the threats are real. Hackers have used webcam images for extortion  and even government agencies have hacked webcam sessions in the name of state security.

There are other ways block the camera hole.Samsung-close-webcam-cover

This security concern isn’t new. Some manufacturers allow you to completely disable the camera in the system BIOS. That’s a good method to turn it off before the system boots, but you’ll have to reboot to turn it back on if you want to use the camera for legitimate purposes. You can also disable the camera through the operating system, but that would be susceptible to hacking for power-up. There are variety of webcam slide covers available to purchase from a retailer. These devices have a manual slide closure which makes it more convenient than a sticky piece of tape to close and open the camera hole for viewing and more visually appealing.

If you are paranoid about someone spying on you from your computer camera you should also be concerned about the onboard microphone that captures sound. Don’t forget your cell phone camera. It’s susceptible to hacking as well.

With all the security concerns why isn’t a webcam slider standard issue?

If we can buy webcam sliding devices on the market to cover the camera hole then why can’t manufacturers make this a built-in standard feature? My car with a sunroof has manual sliding cover in addition to the electric sunroof opener. When I open the roof the manual cover slides open with it. Then when I close the sunroof I can slide the cover to a fully closed position if I don’t want to see the sky through the glass sunroof. Why can’t built-in webcams for laptops and USB webcams have a similar slide device built-in?

This would solve a need and keep the choice to cover or leave the camera up to the operator of the device. Hack me or hack me not?

Onward and upward!