With the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon being ubiquitous now in the workplace, what happens when employees start bringing in laptops with hidden cameras? Almost every laptop has a webcam factory installed above the screen that’s now very vulnerable to hacking attacks. And while we see so much written about how much of a concern that is at home, what about hackers looking in on company webcams?
You might be incredulous to think that hackers sit for hours waiting for someone to be in a certain position to gain private information. Slate did a piece that mentions this as fact and showed how much webcams are being compromised. If it isn’t stories about people being captured sitting in the nude at their computers, it’s another about someone’s personal information being read off a nearby counter.
We’re at the point now where the webcam at the top of our desktops, laptops, and even smartphones becomes an eye that arguably shouldn’t be permanently embedded. Once there’s a realization of just how much hacking webcams receive, we may have to go back to using external cameras to do our web chats. Ones connected by USB can quickly be unplugged and put away without worrying about that eye staring back at us.
Many people are starting to cover their webcams so hackers will just see a blank pattern. But what item should you place over all the webcams on your office laptops? Is it as simple as just placing a bandage over the lens, or should you be a little more stylish?
Some Better-Looking Webcam Covers
You may be avoiding placing a Band-Aid or a piece of masking tape over every cam out of concern of how it looks. Some sites, though, are now in the market of selling webcam covers. Electronic Frontier Foundation sells specialized stickers that go over webcam lenses without leaving any residue on the lens.
If you go on Google Shopping, you’ll also see various options from Etsy to eBay. Many of those stickers are done in the shape of animals or political symbols so you can bring something appealing and make a statement at the same time. Regardless, it ultimately brings a question of why tech companies decided to leave webcams exposed in the first place.
Will Computer Companies Add Webcam Covers Eventually?
It seems strange that computer companies haven’t provided covers for webcams based on everything that’s known about their dangers. The open webcam was probably done as a stylistic device to make our portable tech devices look hip. Now it seems unlikely it’s going to stay that way without providing a future shutter or other covering that comes with the laptop or device.
Until that happens, the webcam sticker business will probably keep ticking up, considering some boxes said stickers cost up to $5. All we can hope for is that hackers don’t continue to go one step ahead and develop a way to see through plastic materials. If they do, privacy will no longer exist in any shape or form.