Some of my academic classes are in lecture halls, filled with dozens of students on their phones and laptops. Some of which pay attention to the professor and some who just zone off into their internet filled world, tuning out the entire class. As for myself, I pay attention most of the time but sometimes I just can’t help but wander and look around the room at everyone not paying attention. Something that has caught my eye many times are the tape on everyone’s webcams, just at the top. I’ve always wondered what they were for and why so many people have done that.
Just this week I happened to stumble upon an article explaining the need for putting little pieces of paper or tape over laptop webcams. As CNBC explains, “Cyber-criminals [have been] taking over victims’ computers for spying and money-making purposes”. With the development of a new software called Blackshades, cyber-spies are able to access documents and pictures as well as control the entire desktop from the microphone to what you download to even the webcam. In other terms, this is performed using a RAT or Remote Access Tool. With this RAT, experts are telling users to beware of what they are downloading and be aware of spontaneous and undesired mouse movement.
I think it is ridiculous that all these students are now covering their webcams. Now, I understand that they are trying to be secure and safe by not having anyone see what they’re doing but in all honesty, I think it’s nonsense. If you are a laptop user, you should be aware of what you are downloading and how willing you are to share your information with the world. With that being said, it is unnecessary to put a piece of paper over your webcam. It looks dumb and it’s unnecessary if you’re smart about your computer usage. I guess this really all just comes from my beliefs that everyone is afraid of everything and people need to stand up for themselves and take charge. It also feeds my theory that everyone believes everything they see and hear.
Looking at the Blackshades program, it’s very interesting to see how programs now being developed are able to access someone else’s computer and documents. Especially with the advancement of cyber security and antivirus software, hackers are still able to get around these hurdles and still access someone’s computer. It makes one wonder how these hackers are able to get around the system… Did they develop the antivirus software a certain way so only certain hackers could get through (like themselves)? Maybe this is all a scheme to make people continuously invest in antivirus software so the market doesn’t die.
For all we know this could be an inside job.