Poll: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

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Thread: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

  1. #1
    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    I'm curious as to how many people actually do this.

    I'll be upfront with you in saying I think this is just stupid and it frightens me that people who are in IT security think this is a good idea. I wouldn't call myself an IT security expert, but I am fairly security conscious and I think that if you're putting tape over your camera, you're missing the point completely.

    Turn on your webcam once and look at yourself as you use your computer. What do you see? Your face staring squinty-eyed at your laptop- oh noes, they might be able to see your facial expressions! Be less worried about that, than the fact that someone may have so completely owned your computer that they have to ability to turn on your camera and watch you remotely. Your real "dirt" isn't on your webcam- it's on the PC itself. If they get your bank account information from your PC, then you've got a real problem- and it's one that a piece of tape won't fix.

    In short, if they can control your webcam, you've already had information about yourself exposed that's worse than anything they're likely to see. Be security aware, and keep hackers out of your PC to begin with.
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Mine's a separate peripheral, but when I'm not using it I turn it around so it's facing the wall/wires/etc. It's not an exact comparison but it's probably in the same "spirit" as putting a piece of tape over it.

    The rational part of me realizes that this doesn't do much especially per your main point, but then again it's essentially zero effort on my end so no harm done.
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    The Red-titled Forum Administrator Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Actually, there is a lot of money being made out of blackmail. Such as getting Arabian looking individuals doing naughty things infront of their webcam, and saying they will upload it to their friends and family unless they pay thousands. Because there is such a big taboo and shame culture, they pay out.

    Though this is usually obtained by having a 'sexy girl' skype calling them, and getting the blackmail material that way.
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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    Though this is usually obtained by having a 'sexy girl' skype calling them, and getting the blackmail material that way.
    Right! No hacking needed if you willingly engage in video sex chats- though I suspect that's what feeds many of the webcam hacking stories.

    Interesting results- I'm the only respondent who doesn't cover their webcam thus far.
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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    There, I put in a "no" so you don't feel so lonely. I don't use my laptop so much anymore, but when I did, I used it as a desktop - lid closed and connected to a keyboard and monitor. However, when I did use it as laptop, I did not tape the webcam.
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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    The webcam is an issue for physical security. Same as the cheap nanny cams so many people install in their homes with no thought to the consequences.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...py-on-children

    Germany’s telecommunications watchdog has ordered parents to destroy or disable a “smart doll” because the toy can be used to illegally spy on children.

    The My Friend Cayla doll, which is manufactured by the US company Genesis Toys and distributed in Europe by Guildford-based Vivid Toy Group, allows children to access the internet via speech recognition software, and to control the toy via an app.

    But Germany’s Federal Network Agency announced this week that it classified Cayla as an “illegal espionage apparatus”. As a result, retailers and owners could face fines if they continue to stock it or fail to permanently disable the doll’s wireless connection.
    As for normal webcams, I'd be more afraid of those encrypting blackmail trojans.
    If someone has that level of access to my computer, I can think of far worse they could do than make a video of me in whatever situation.

    Oh wait, that's what master X already said, been a while since I read the OP.
    I mean, I agree with him!
    Last edited by Husar; 02-20-2017 at 17:23.


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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    For various interference-prone "smart" devices, couldn't they just be made to operate on an intranet rather than open wifi?
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    For various interference-prone "smart" devices, couldn't they just be made to operate on an intranet rather than open wifi?
    Depends on what exactly you mean? I think the problem with the doll is that the manufacturer did not do anything at all to protect the connection, and it's a Bluetooth, not a WiFi connection. I'd simply assume that it saves costs and makes it easier for children to access at the terrible expense of making it accessible to just anyone in range...

    If you mean Smart Devices in general, quite a few of them seem to work only with a subscription service and control via some cloud connection, plus they employ some proprietary radio waves to communicate with some kind of base that connects to the cloud service. The advatage being that controls and e.g. videos are available from everywhere and the obvious disadvantage being lower security, more manufacturer control (one manufacturer shut down their services a while ago and thus made all their smart home devices completely useless in one go...) and monthly costs beyond what they need in terms of electricity.
    Last edited by Husar; 02-20-2017 at 20:55.


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  10. #10

    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Even better, I unplug it since it's a separate device.

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    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    For various interference-prone "smart" devices, couldn't they just be made to operate on an intranet rather than open wifi?
    I think it's a great idea to put IOT devices on a separate network if you're able. Anything I don't need regular access to gets pushed into my guest network, which is firewalled from my main LAN. Also, I block Internet access for appliances (like my NAS) that don't need it to operate.

    I'm very leery of "cloud" operated IOT devices. That's usually where the security problems arise. Like baby monitors that you can view over the Internet by connecting to the vendor's app/website. I heard of an example recently of a monitor that the video could be accessed simply by entering a unique URL on the vendor's site. For example, crappysecurity.com/12345. People realized that they could guess random URLs and view people's home cameras without needing any kind of authentication.

    edit: This is Why People Fear the ‘Internet of Things’
    Last edited by Xiahou; 02-22-2017 at 05:48.
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  12. #12
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    There are also plenty of IoT devices by now that participate in bot nets for DoS attacks and so on.
    Even routers AFAIK, so a decent router is probably one of the best investments for not having your home network compromised.
    http://www.securityweek.com/compromi...ariety-badness


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  13. #13
    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Even routers AFAIK, so a decent router is probably one of the best investments for not having your home network compromised.
    I'd go one better and say get something with actual firewall functionality instead of just a NAT router. I've heard a lot of good feedback about the Ubiquiti Edgerouter lines and they're pretty well priced. Personally though, I use pfSense. In addition to running Snort IDS on it, it let me configure dynamic IP list downloads for known malware sites and have them automatically blocked from my network.
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    Requin Member Vincent Butler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    I don't, though I have considered it. To echo Husar and Xiahou, frankly, if somebody has hacked my webcam, I am more concerned about what other access they have on my computer, passwords and such. I don't do banking online, so that is not really a concern. My computer usually sits in my room or at college, so what do they see? Maybe a closet full of clothes, a Miami Dolphins pennant on my wall, maybe a bed post? Not to mention my head is blocking most of what they would see, and if I am not using my laptop I leave it closed.

    Despite the fact that I am about to graduate with an electrical engineering degree, I am not a big fan of IoT, though that is a big deal in the EE magazines. I guess I am just old school, but if I had it and somebody were to hack it...I am sure there are a lot of safety features, but still, I am leery about it.

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou View Post
    I'd go one better and say get something with actual firewall functionality instead of just a NAT router. I've heard a lot of good feedback about the Ubiquiti Edgerouter lines and they're pretty well priced. Personally though, I use pfSense. In addition to running Snort IDS on it, it let me configure dynamic IP list downloads for known malware sites and have them automatically blocked from my network.
    The EdgeRouter looks like it is made for installation in my server rack. I'll have to buy my server rack first.


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    The Red-titled Forum Administrator Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    There is an episode on Black Mirror about this.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shut_U...(Black_Mirror)
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    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you tape/cover your webcam?

    No.

    I use an enterprise derived linux distro. Suse Leap.
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