“Why do I need I a webcam cover?” a new friend asked me recently. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
“Of course you don’t!” I agreed with her. “But even though you don’t have anything to hide, you still have curtains on all of the windows of your home. That’s because you know that there are some people that will spy on you, just because they can. And they will decide later what they will do with the information. Using a webcam cover is just like covering your windows.
She rolled her eyes at me and asked what useful information could possibly be gained by hacking into her webcam, staring at her staring at her screen and how do you hack a webcam anyway? Seemed to her like a lot of trouble to watch people not doing much of anything.
I explained that RATS are a software that can allow a person to spy on a computer from far away. The hacker can then look at your messages and browsing activity, take screen shots or even take photographs of the person on the other side of the screen. If you work with sensitive documents, if you are wearing a tank top, if you have a fight with a family member any and all of that will be on display. There are places online like hackforums.net where access to people’s computers is traded and sold. A webcam cover completely blocks that.
I then tackled the question of “how”. “Have you ever taken your laptop for repairs?”
“Yes” she answered. “I had the IT guy at work look at my laptop when I was having problems with my email.”
If he had wanted he could do a quick on-line search for “How to Install A RAT on someone’s computer” and come up with a wealth of tutorials like this one and gain access. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qChLL-Newj4.
But you don’t even have to have left your computer with someone. RATS can be installed remotely too.
You won’t know if you’ve been hacked. So always think of your webcam as an open window to the world. If you don’t want the world seeing you through it, cover it. Use a webcam cover that doesn’t use tape. Tape will either fall off or cure permanently. I like the covers from Webcameracover.
“Yeah”, my friend said after thinking It over. “I guess it really is like curtains in the window. It just makes sense to cover my webcam if I’m not using it.”
“That’s right!” I nodded. “And if it’s good enough for Zuckerberg it’s good enough for us!”