Why Smart People Cover Their Laptop Camera With Tape

Just protecting yourself from hackers isn't cool. You know what's cool? Protecting yourself from hackers using a simple piece of tape when you're a billionaire who could really afford a more high-tech system for doing that.

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg put a post on Facebook celebrating 500 million users, Twitter user Chris Olson noticed something interesting.

According to The New York Times, "The taped-over camera and microphone jack are usually a signal that someone is concerned, perhaps only vaguely, about hackers’ gaining access to his or her devices by using remote-access trojans—a process called 'ratting'."

Turns out, we should all start doing this, whether we're a tech billionaire or not. Sure Zuckerberg is a high-risk target, but covering photo, video and audio portals on your computer is an incredibly inexpensive way for anyone to give themselves a little extra security.

“Covering the camera is a very common security measure,” Lysa Myers, a security researcher at the data security firm ESET, said in an email to the Times. “If you were to walk around a security conference, you would have an easier time counting devices that don’t have something over the camera.”

If Mark Zuckerberg's using-the-tape trick isn't enough to convince you, then the fact that F.B.I. director James Comey also uses it should. According to NPR, Comey told students at Kenyon College in April he covers his webcams as well. “I saw something in the news, so I copied it,” Mr. Comey said. “I put a piece of tape—I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop—I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”

Both Mark Zuckerberg and James Comey are smarter than me when it comes to internet security so I'm going to invest in some tape. Sorry internet hacker creeps, this show is over.