Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo to his social media account celebrating half a billion monthly users for Facebook-owned Instagram. A Twitter user noticed that the camera and microphone jack of the Facebook co-founder’s laptop seemed to be covered up with tape. Various media outlets questioned whether it was a case of paranoia or a good practice to boost security.
The recent hacking of Zuckerberg’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts suggests that he might have made two key privacy errors. They include using the same password for multiple websites, and not using two-step authentication.
People often tape over cameras and microphone jacks to prevent hackers from using remote-access trojans to access mobile devices, according to The New York Times. Hackers use “ratting” to hijack computer cameras and mics.
Many security experts praised Zuckerberg’s taping of the PC accessories. The primary reason is that Zuckerberg is a likely target of hack attacks as the chief executive of the world’s largest social network.
Online security experts argued it made sense for Zuckerberg to tape over the PC peripherals. Online criminals and intelligence agencies might want to steal his money, while ordinary hackers might try to spy on the high-profile CEO.
There is a second key reason Zuckerberg’s action made sense. Covering photo, video, and audio gadgets is a cheap and easy method to avoid security vulnerabilities.
Lysa Myers is a security researcher at the data security firm ESET. She explained in an email that covering a camera is a very frequent security measure, which can be seen by the many covered cameras at security conferences.
It seems that the uploaded photo with the covered camera and mic show that Zuckerberg was trying to prevent remote access. Hackers try to trick people into clicking on links that install malicious software on their devices.
Other high-profile people also put tape over their webcams. FBI Director James Comey told NPR he also puts tape over his laptop camera.
Stephen Cobb is a senior security researcher at ESET. He explained that everyday people are also at risk because hackers might scan the Internet for hackable webcams.
In related news, Taiwanese PC maker Acer just admitted in a letter to its online customers that it had discovered third-party hacking. Information such as names, addresses, and credit card data might have been stolen, according to .The Verge.