LOS ANGELES, CA - Recently Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo of himself at the office- and the Internet exploded when sharp eyes noticed that he seemed to have covered his webcam and audio jack with tape. Is he totally paranoid- or just using common sense?
The tape is meant to thwart hackers trying to spy on your from your own device, or "ratting." Remote access trackers can take over your webcam and microphone to record you for any number of nefarious reasons- from voyeurism to extortion.
Data security experts don't have a good estimate on how often it happens- because some people never find out that they're a victim. All it takes is clicking on the wrong link or visiting a website with malware.
In 2015, the nonprofit Digital Citizens Alliance issued a report about ratting and found hundreds of victim videos, as well as tutorials and chat forums for sharing tips and "rat" programs that are "inexpensive and technically simple to use."
While CEO billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and high ranking government officials are obvious targets, the report found that it's a growing problem for consumers, too. Especially young women.
So maybe the real the question is, since it's so easy and effective- why aren't you taping over your laptop camera right now?