I Am Watching You HeHe And So Are My Friends
The 21st century is a spy’s paradise. Before, if you wanted to gather incriminating evidence on a person, you had to go out and hire an old-fashioned private detective with a drinking problem to go and take pictures. Today those private detectives are hardly necessary. We live surrounded by countless devices practically tailor-made to catch you unaware. Not only do Alexa and Siri listen to your every word (and probably gossip about us on their spare time in some digital rec room), but even the devices you believe to be in your control can be used against you. Without you even knowing it, James Bond could be looking at you through your webcam at this very moment. But the sad truth is that it is probably someone more malicious, and much, much less attractive than James Bond doing the peeping.
In a now famous Mark Zuckerberg Instagram post, eagle-eyed viewers spotted a piece of tape Mark had placed over his computer’s webcam. Then came the revelation that Edward Snowden covers his webcam as well, and if you needed any more examples of security-minded tech nerds taking the added step to protect themselves, the spymaster himself - James Comey - does the same. He went so far as to order all government offices to cover their cameras.
If you think you’re safe because you’re not a billionaire, a whistle-blower, or a professional spy, then you may want to think again. In as far back as 2010, two high school students were spied on by school personnel on their school-issued laptops. A guy in California was sentenced to 6 years in prison after using webcams to spy on over 100 people. A hacker on the BBC said that access to a webcam costs about $1 on the internet- if you know where to look. This is offensive. Getting to watch me live my life should cost a lot more than that. I’m interesting!
Unfortunately, covering your webcam can’t erase all your worries. If someone has gotten access to your webcam, they likely have access to far more of your life than that little dot on the top of your computer. However, even if covering your camera doesn’t erase the threat, it is a simple way to ensure you don’t fall victim to at least one kind of blackmail. It is also a daily visual reminder to think about security.
If you want to take an extra step, cut off the plug from an old pair of headphones and leave it plugged into the microphone jack. Apparently James Bond can even listen to you to now. And don’t make the mistake most people make who wind up being hacked. Don’t stick with the same password forever, make your new ones complex, and don’t for the love of god click on any links inside emails, even if the email is from an old ex you’ve always hoped would email you out of the blue. They probably didn’t. But there’s still hope. You can always go and stand outside their window with a boombox over your head! Just don’t open their unsolicited links.