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Protect your privacy: why black out your webcam?

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During a conference on computer security, James Comey, director of the FBI, underlined the importance of blacking out webcams on PCs, smartphones and tablets in order to avoid  malicious people unpleasantly invading our privacy.

This may seem like a strange affirmation, but Comey’s suggestion invites us to reflect on more than one issue. Even influential people in the world of computers, such as Mark Zuckerberg, usually cover their webcams with a piece of tape.

Webcams are a potential risk

In 2010, Blake Robbins, a student at Harrington High School in Pennsylvania, reported his school for taking over 400 photographs over a two-week period, directly from the webcam on the computer that it had assigned to him.

The school defended itself by claiming that every device had been fitted, as well as with a GPS system, also with technology that regularly took photographs of the person using it, as an anti-theft measure. It emerged that over 56,000 photographs of under-age students had been taken using the webcam.

Three years later, an American student came under the spotlight: a classmate had violated her webcam taking hundreds of photographs without her knowing. It was no longer a mystery that webcams represented (and still represent) a risk for our privacy.

Why violate a webcam?

But, what’s the point of stealing snapshots of someone’s private life? According to the FBI, there are two main reasons: revenge or money. In the first case, images could be published online in order to embarrass the victim. In the second case, images could be used to ask for a ransom.

How is a webcam violated?

Whoever takes control of our devices does so because we have made this possible for them, albeit unknowingly. In the majority of cases, malicious individuals send the victim an e-mail containing a link: if clicked, this link installs a software onto our computer that allows them to access the webcam. One precaution that we can therefore take is to be careful of how we behave and appropriately assess anything that is suspicious and unknown on the world wide web.

Webcam covers: the perfect gadget to protect the security of employees and customers

Considering that, when it comes to  privacy and security, you can never have too many solutions, Maikii has launched a promotional gadget which will undoubtedly be popular among companies that extensively use electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops: the webcam cover. This is an adhesive plastic cover with a scrolling opening and closure system to be placed over the webcam, with the aim of preventing any viruses or hackers from attacking. The characteristics of this product make it convenient and easy to use with all devices: the scrolling feature allows you to cover the camera when it is not in use and to use it when necessary, sliding up the cover, whereas its small size and super thin cover make it compatible with almost any device. It can be customised with a silkscreen printed and four-colour corporate logo.

 

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