B1 Intermediate US 27095 Folder Collection
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You've probably seen people cover their webcams,
but should you cover your webcam?
Former FBI director, James Comey,
thinks you should.
- Do you still have a piece of tape over your cameras at home? - Heck yeah, heck yeah.
Edward Snowden, and even Mark Zuckerberg,
appear to cover theirs.
It could protect you from attacks like the one Miss Teen USA experienced in 2013,
in which a man secretly spied on her, and recorded her, and then blackmailed her.
But you're not a head of state, and you're also not a celebrity.
So do you really need to worry about someone
spying on you through your laptop's camera?
Well, yeah.
In 2013, a hacker told the BBC
that access to a woman's webcam cost about a dollar,
and that he had access to 500 computers.
That's crazy!
So, to find out how common these attacks are,
and whether we should be worried,
I talked to Tod Beardsley,
the research director at cyber security and penetration testing company, Rapid7.
There are occasionally bugs in web-based technologies
that allow attackers to open your webcam and record video on it.
They're pretty far and few in between.
He explained to me that these vulnerabilities often show up in Flash and Java,
and at this point, there might even been one in html5.
What really sucks is that you won't know if a website is affected.
Also, hackers can turn off your webcam's light
so you won't actually know whether you've been compromised.
That's not great!
Anything that wants you to click in a very specific place in your browser,
that would be very suspect.
You see it a lot more now with location services,
like, "click here to allow location service",
that's typically the control on webcams as well.
There's not a lot you can do about it other than
(clicks tongue to mimic sticky tape)
Okay, so, at least tape will stop someone from spying on you visually,
that's a relief.
But how effective is covering our webcams, and should we do it?
Having it covered is a super cheap, super easy thing to do,
that also doesn't get you a lot,
but at least it makes you feel better, right?
And it is a signal to other people that you think about security.
Okay, so Tod says it can't hurt,
but covering your laptop camera
doesn't actually address the much bigger risk of your cellphone camera and microphone.
Microphone hacking is probably just as creepy and incriminating as a video.
I can record conversations in the room,
that piece of tape is not gonna stop me.
We actually tested this.
(cellphone ringing)
Hey.
Hey, okay, so can you try to talk to me with your phone away from your face?
Sure.
(microphone static)
This is about how loudly I would talk if I was having a conversation with someone in a room.
Okay, so I can hear you pretty perfectly
meaning, if a hacker had hacked into your microphone,
even if you had tape over it, he or she would still be able to hear what you're saying.
I hate to break it to you all,
but the reality is that cameras and microphones are everywhere now;
we have smart home speakers, cellphones, laptops, smart refrigerators,
and even voice-enabled TV remotes listening to us at all times.
Unless you're going to tape over,
or physically disable every one of those cameras or microphones,
you're still going to be at risk.
But, if nothing else, we can at least prevent webcam attacks with tape.
There is some superstitious comfort you get,
because you can see the camera sticker all the time,
you're looking at it and think, "I'm doing it right".
It's a little bit self-congratulatory to put the tape on the camera,
but it does ultimately also mean that you're looking at security control all the time,
so you might be thinking more about how long should my password be?
Should I tell those people my password?
Shall I click on this link in the cPanel?
I think that is probably valuable.
So go ahead, put tape over your camera.
It might not stop hackers from listening through your microphone,
but it'll at least make us a little bit better,
and prevent them from watching us sleep at night.
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Should you cover your webcam?

27095 Folder Collection
Samuel published on June 3, 2018    HsiangLanLee translated    Cyndi reviewed
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