Should You Cover Your Webcam Just Because the FBI Director Does?

Your webcam could invite unwanted prying eyes to your home...

Cover your webcam feature

What danger does the FBI director want the general public to be aware of? Webcams. It’s true. Your exposed webcam could be a major security risk. When you’re not using it, cover your webcam to protect your privacy.

Webcams Aren’t Always Private

Hackers don’t just get into your files or online accounts. They’re also interested in what’s going on around you at any given time. If your webcam is uncovered, you’re providing hackers with an open window to your life.

You protect yourself by using antivirus software. When you cover your webcam, you’re adding an extra layer of security. The last thing you want is a stranger watching you in your home.

Zuckerberg and the FBI Director Cover Up

In April 2016, James Comey, the then Director of the FBI, admitted to putting tape over his webcam. He was mocked and pointed fun at, but he held firm that when you cover your webcam, it’s like locking your doors when you leave your house.

If advice from Comey isn’t enough to sway you, listen to the same advice from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. After posting a photo to Facebook, one user noticed that Zuckerberg had tape over both his webcam and mic. Security experts agree that he’s smart to cover the webcam.

It’s not paranoia that makes Comey and Zuckerberg take extra precautions. While they may be higher value targets to hackers, any webcam is fair game to hackers. For instance, a hacker might spy on your habits to discover when you’re not home so they can rob you. It’s a scary thought, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to Cover Your Webcam

You can cover your webcam easily with a single piece of dark tape. Electrical tape works well since it’s easy to remove. You can also buy vinyl cling webcam cover stickers to avoid any sticky residue. You can do this with built-in webcams and external webcams.

Another option is to purchase a webcam cover. These attach to your device and have a sliding cover to quickly uncover and cover your webcam. Another version clips over the edge of your laptop to cover the webcam.

For external webcams, simply detach them from your computer. If they’re not connected, they can’t be hacked.

Remember that this is an additional precaution to antivirus software and a firewall. These are your first line of defense and help keep hackers out before they even have a chance to hack your webcam.

Disable Your Windows 10 Webcam

If you’re diligent, you could check your webcam often for signs that it’s turned on. For instance, if you see the light come on, but you haven’t turned the webcam on yourself, there could be a problem.

If you don’t use your webcam often or at all, you can disable it. Combine this with covering your webcam and you’re even safer from potential prying eyes.

  1. Disable your webcam by going to Start and searching for Device Manager.
  2. Choose the Device Manager result.
  3. Expand Imaging Devices. Right-click your webcam and click Disable.

The Verdict:

Go ahead and cover your webcam. Everyone deserves their privacy, especially when you’re using a personal laptop in your home or around your family.

Related Read: Android Security: Is Your Smartphone at Risk?