Does Mark Zuckerberg Cover his WebCam and Lock his Audio Port?
Mr. Zuckerberg posted this photo to celebrate an Instagram milestone—the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app topped 500 million active users—the image’s background shows a desk with a laptop that sports a couple of non-standard features. As one Twitter user noticed and Gizmodo highlighted, the MacBook in question sports small pieces of tape over both its webcam and the audio input area. (“Wow, Mark Zuckerberg is Paranoid as !@#$,” read the Gizmodo headline.)
There’s some sweet irony in the apparent discovery that the founder and CEO of Facebook—a company famous for inhaling and capitalizing on its users’ personal data—guards his own computer so carefully. But Gizmodo’s conclusion requires a couple of jumps.
First, it isn’t entirely clear that the computer belongs to Zuckerberg, although Gizmodo provides some anecdotal evidence that it does.
Second, and more importantly, putting a cover over your webcam cover is not really such a paranoid thing to do. My laptop has a cover over its webcam as I type this. So does the laptop of my colleague who is a cyber-security professional. Neither of us are in the habit of wearing tinfoil hats. But unlike alien mind control, webcam hacking is a demonstrably real phenomenon, so much so that the Atlantic once dubbed it an “epidemic.” It isn’t just criminal hackers and voyeurs who are breaking into people’s webcams. The Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA does it, too.
Our only advice to Mr. Zuckerberg is to not use tape. It’s tacky and gums up your screen and computer. Mark, we have a free webcam cover waiting for ya brother!