Is It a Smart Decision to Cover Your Webcam with Tape?

When you stroll around an office or a café, you’ll frequently find people covering their webcams with a wide variety of different objects. Tape, Post-it notes, folded business cards, stickers, the person’s thumb, or a marlin may be used at other occasions. I smear chunky peanut butter all over my webcam to make it look more authentic. It has a higher degree of stability than smoothness.

When you bought the laptop, none of those accessories were included, and it would be easy to make fun of someone for being neurotic if they put something in that slot. It feels a little narcissistic and unnerving to think that someone may want to peek via your specific webcam. It’s almost as if we’re leaving our house and telling someone in particular, “Please, no cameras.”

It’s ridiculous that some individuals are covering their webcams with tape, but it’s even more ridiculous that other people think this is a reasonable precaution to take.

Hacking a Webcam Is a Real Thing That Can Be Done

The phrase “almost anything can be hacked” does not merely refer to the title of the children’s pop-up book that I will soon publish. There have been a lot of reports over the years about people using webcams to spy on unsuspecting people, usually people they know, and there have been a lot of webcams that have been hijacked. A student found out in 2009 that the school laptop that was handed to him was secretly photographing him (without offering any extra credit!). Many women have had their webcams hacked, and the issue frequently escalates into blackmail.

At the national level (this can’t be good), classified documents have showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has gained backdoor access to web cameras, as has Britain’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ. All of the snooping has been done without the courtesy of the webcam indication light turning on. That is such a poor manner.

Even if there were not an infinite number of horrible stories, the concept of having a webcam on your laptop would still be a little strange. You should think of it as always having a camera pointing directly at your face. It’s your face, not your shin, not your elbow, and certainly not your toes. And we ended up purchasing it. We all went inside the business together and essentially said, “Please keep one camera directed at my face at all times.”

It’s true that I’m well aware that no one is interested in staring at me, but it doesn’t stop me from trying. This was obvious all throughout high school. When I last checked, I was neither a woman nor a parent, yet this so-called threat is significantly more dangerous for those demographics. It is still rather uncommon for a camera to be hacked, and I always feel a little foolish when I wrap something around my webcam like it’s a parrot before I go to bed.

Perhaps the issue at hand is one of principle. I avoided using one of those self-checkouts at the grocery store because it creepily displays your image back to you, and I used to own a laptop for years that didn’t have a webcam. I found it fun to pretend in work meetings that my connection was poor, and I also enjoyed pretending that my laptop didn’t have a webcam. I did this for years. A piece of information that I did not require was the expression on my face as I was buying Bagel Bites at one in the morning.

What Steps You Can Take

Even if we are all aware that there are cameras in every direction, it seems only natural to take whatever precautions are necessary to avoid at least some of them from focusing on us. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has access to more data about individuals than the Library of Congress, covers his webcam with a piece of tape.

You can, fortunately, buy miniature webcam-blocking clips alongside products such as gum and blankets. These clips allow you the option of whether or not you want to be spied on, depending on how you’re feeling at the time. It should be standard on more laptops to have them already installed. In addition, you can turn off your webcam; nevertheless, having an antiviral program as a backup is typically recommended. Also, just attempt to act as like you have nothing interesting to say in its presence if at all possible.

It’s okay to laugh at yourself when you block your camera as long as you do it in a safe way. I won’t pass judgment on you even if your webcam is protected by a plate of osmium, shrouded in blackout curtains, and clamped shut with one of those tire clamps.

However, you shouldn’t be astonished if, at some point in the future, hackers figure out a way to take it off as well.

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