Should you cover your webcam?

Should you cover your webcam?

(ominous music) – You’ve probably seen
people cover their webcams, but should you cover your webcam? Former FBI director, James Comey, thinks you should. – [Interviewer] 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. (steady electronic music) 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 cybersecurity 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. – [Ashley] 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. – [Ashley] We actually tested this. (cellphone ringing) – [Woman On Phone] Hey. – Hey, okay, so can you try to talk to me with your phone away from your face? – [Woman On Phone] Sure. (microphone static) – [Woman On Phone] 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, here 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 feel a little bit better, and prevent them from watching us sleep at night. (elevator dings)

100 thoughts on “Should you cover your webcam?

  1. Webcams aren't the only vulnerability for those concerned about security. We test covering a phone's microphone at 2:21, but there are better ways than tape to cover it up.
    How would you cover a microphone?


  3. I don't always have my webcam covered (I video call my family frequently), but I always turn my laptop around and have it face away from me or any mirrors when I change. Otherwise, there isn't much for a perv to see… unless there are people who get off watching someone eat, pick their nose, or zone out watching youtube videos.

  4. That hacker should tape his whole screen instead. Maybe he thinks he'll find a sexy teen, but instead he'll be confronted with depressing images of self deprecation and an overweight cat.


  6. saving you 4 minutes:

    cover it if you want to, don't cover it if you don't want to. in the internet, absolutely nothing is safe and it is possible that someone is watching you. I covered mine.

  7. Would you really need to worry about getting spied on? The answer is you at least won't need to worry about getting video-recorded anymore.

  8. Big deal if they hack my Webcam. They'll see my ugly face in front of the laptop… If I don't use my laptop say when I'm engaging in activities other people shouldn't see I turn my laptop off and close it. Problem solved without an ugly piece of tape above the screen

  9. This is true. There are zero day exploits that virus/malware scanners do not detect as they are legitimate applications in which the installation is on that manipulates known software exploits right in the operating system itself, or through other running applications.

  10. a few decades late, but we're definitely starting to look like 1984. funny how scarily accurate some authors are at envisioning the future

  11. I've allways covered my Webcam on my Desktop or Laptop. You can never trust who might be on the other side. Everyone should do it when they are not using their device.

  12. Devices should have a physical switch to turn camera and microphone on and off. It should be law. And wi-fi.

  13. “People can hack your webcam”
    Covers webcam with ducktape
    “You can’t prevent them from hacking your microphone”
    Learns second language

  14. BEST in USA webcam cover

  15. If the camera LED is in series with the camera, wont there be no way of turning on the camera without you seeing the LED?

  16. Actually i have bought a webcam cover slide from Amazon. They are thin, small, discreet and work perfectly on my laptop and phone.

  17. I covered my camera righ after watching this video and my laptop went crazy and turned itself off, that’ crazy

  18. My snapchat recently started requesting my location to be on when sending or just taking pictures. Has anyone else?

  19. In all honesty i really dont care about this… If someone could steal my identity they would quickly give it back,,,….. if someone recorded me doing something then thats fine too, tbh i could do with the excitement … you never know, i might even become famous because of it, even if it is for all the wrong

  20. Make sure that when you cover your camera you don’t cover up the LED light if it has one so you could see if it’s on. Even if they might be able to turn the camera light off it’s worth a try.

  21. Save yourself 4min: Dont cover it because it doesnt solve the bigger issue. Also, its so rare and youre so unimportant that its extremely rare that you'll get hacked. The main upside is that you will look smart to stupid people.

  22. I cover my webcam with either clear tape with black sharpie or electrical tape because it’s extra thick and they both blends in with the black bezels on the laptop so sometimes I don’t even know it’s there

  23. I have taped the front camera in my phone so im face and i really dont use the front camera of my phone often

  24. I have a phone which has a pop-up selifie camera so whenever the front camera is to be used it'll will come out from the phone so you can know when your camera is being used my phone's name is OPPO RENO 10X ZOOM look it up on YouTube

  25. Tape? Can’t Mark afford those fancy magnet camera covers? Their only 5 dollars for a set of 3 at amazon.

  26. I covered mine with hard glued paper it’s not see thru yay.Nobody wants the FBI spying on u what if u have to use the toilet I mean Privacy ppl

  27. I’m not watching anything bad or anything, but after watching that one Black Mirror, I ain’t taking no chances

  28. I am here because i find my webcam slide open at least once to twice a month i always keep it close and i found it always half open and not fully should i worry?

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