Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.
This week, I’m passing on a tip from my security-conscious daughter:
I used to do this and forgot about it. She came for a visit and slapped a post-it note over my webcam.
And she’s right! Webcams and mics are too easy to hack, been done often. Why risk it? When I want to use the webcam (which isn’t that often), I take the post-it off.
I’m not the only one. In questions during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former FBI Director Comey revealed that cam-covering is commonplace at the FBI and other government offices:
“If you go into any government office, we all have our little camera things that sit on top of the screen, they all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so people who do not have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”
One more person who’s security conscious is that poster-boy for social media: Mark Zuckerberg. In a photo he tweeted out, he was caught doing just that. See what the geek experts noticed about this photo (one is that Mark covers his webcam as a matter of policy):
It’s old science that an image of your keyboard can be caught in the reflection of your glasses and transmitted to your webcam.
You might wonder why anyone would be interested in what shows up on your webcam. The answer is simple: Hackers use captured footage or audio for blackmail.
Another tip: Close your laptop when not in use. Then, the camera and mic can’t be compromised.
More security tips:
Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for WordDreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.