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Schools secretly monitoring students, PC rental places spying on customers, or government agencies following your every move — from your jealous ex to creepy sextortionists, anyone can train to become a cyber spy.aren’t as secure as you’d think, so protecting your smartphone with a strong password is a must.
Such attacks require your computer to be tunneled into by hackers, creating a backdoor called a Remote Access Tool (RAT) — sort of like if someone added an unlocked window to your house that you didn't know was there.As for surveillance cameras, you’d be surprised how many people don’t even bother to change their default password.Security cameras are just as vulnerable as your computer, with the added “bonus” that the footage can be streamed live on the internet, for the whole world to see."One or two instances of RATs and teenagers being hacked for video through their webcams creates a lot of media clicks and hysteria, but the truth is that you should be much more concerned about your personal data than your webcam or your phone’s front-facing camera (which no one covers with a sticker)."Taping over your webcam is one way to keep your laptop or phone safe, but Wheeler also recommends the usual security basics: enable two-factor authentication, run automatic updates, turn on a firewall, backup your data in case you need to wipe your device clean, never click links from strangers, and use strong passwords or a password manager. "If you see your phone starting to flip through photos or it’s doing things you don’t understand or didn’t tell it to, power it off completely and take it to a reputable repair shop," Wheeler says.Of course, sometimes you'd still like to be able to use your webcam, so whatever you choose as a cover should be removable without leaving any residue. Masking tape and Post-it notes work, as they don't leave behind a residue."As a society, we should be concerned about the increasing amount of surveillance and loss of privacy that we’re experiencing," she notes."However, if you’re in school and generally minding your own business, the FBI probably isn’t watching you do your homework through your webcam." Plus, Wheeler notes that the FBI would likely need a warrant to watch you via your own webcam, and "to be honest, by the time the FBI has a warrant to surveil you, your webcam isn’t your problem anymore."However, there are others who could be watching through your webcam, and the stories of compromised cameras are genuinely terrifying: hackers taunting people and spying on women at home, blackmailing teens into sharing nude photos, and schools even keeping watch on their students.It's a smart privacy and security move, because if your webcam is really hacked, it's not likely to be a benevolent and bored FBI agent watching.Former FBI director James Comey covers his, as does Mark Zuckerberg, and so do the security experts spoke to.Hall recommends plastic covers that flip open or away for you to make a call.Stickers are a more colourful option, and online rights group the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) sells a set of five reusable webcam stickers — buy a set and share with your friends.