Everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity these days. Not even our smart home appliances are safe. These Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets have such weak security that they create the potential for serious cyberattacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and remote overrides.
DDoS attacks from IoT gadgets are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to security risks we need to be worried about. Things are getting so bad that Pope Francis is even taking precautions.
A photo of Pope Francis using an iPad was posted recently on Twitter. One interesting thing about the image is the fact that the pontiff had a sticker covering the front-facing camera on the tablet.
Sticker on the front-facing camera of the iPad.
Pope Francis' opsec: pic.twitter.com/pgBab65lJP
— Collin Anderson (@CDA) January 4, 2017
This security practice first came to fruition last year when we discovered that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was using tape to cover the webcam and audio jack on his laptop. Covering your webcam when it's not in use is a good idea. That's because webcam hacking is a real threat facing computer users every day.
Listen to our podcast on webcam hackers to find out the risks:
Once news of Mark Zuckerberg covering his webcam went viral, it started catching on with others. Most notably, FBI Director James Comey.
Comey revealed that he also uses tape to cover his webcam. He's now recommending that everyone should do it.
Why you should cover your webcam
The thought of being peeped on by anyone is creepy. Covering your gadget's cam with tape while you're not using it will stop this from happening.
Another reason you should cover your webcam is to help avoid some serious security issues. Remote hackers can use malware dubbed RAT (Remote Access Trojan), to take over your gadget completely, turn on your webcam without your knowledge and maliciously spy on you. Hackers could even turn off the webcam indicator light so you won't know if it has been turned on.
RAT malware could infect your gadget via a number of ways. There is the usual "click on this link" method, distributed by phishing emails, text messaging or social media sites. With this method, hackers will try and direct you to a website where the malicious software resides and from there, it will download and install to your computer as discreetly as possible.
Another method is if someone with physical access to your computer intentionally installs RAT software without your knowledge. Remote access tools are a staple for troubleshooting and IT administrators everywhere, but if someone secretly installs these tools without your consent, then there might be more sinister intentions at play.
It's a good idea, like in most cases, to follow the Pope's lead and protect your privacy. Cover those webcams!