A mama bear would never do anything to put her family in danger. She'll close the blinds to the children’s rooms at night so strangers can't look in, she'll babyproof the house before junior was crawling and carefully researched which baby monitor is least likely to be hacked before purchasing one.
However, despite your best intentions did you know you could you be compromising your family’s privacy and safety simply by using your laptop? Shocking right. That’s because when your laptop camera is uncovered it leaves you susceptible to having private moments captured without your knowledge.
One of the easiest and smartest ways to protect the privacy of your family is by covering your laptop camera. Says who? Technology guru Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, covers his laptop as does FBI Director James Comey. It makes you wonder what they know that we don’t. Let me fill you in, they know that a simple piece of tape can prevent a hacker from viewing or recording you.
Mothers have enough to worry about besides a stranger virtually stalking their family. Your home should be your private oasis, not the set of a live-stream. All mama’s have the right to confidently change their clothes, breastfeed and have intimate moments in the privacy of their own home without fear. Sadly something so preventable is becoming more common. Find out why you need to cover your laptop camera right now.
15 Hackers Are More Likely To Spy On Women
Did you hear about the Toronto woman whose webcam was hacked while she watched Netflix with her boyfriend? Photos of the couple were then sent to her the next day via Facebook. Is that creepy or what? Sadly she isn’t alone.
Statistically women are much more careful about the information they share online than men are. In a recent survey 78% of women said they are extremely unlikely to give away personal information online, yet we are more likely to have our laptop camera’s hacked. The problem is so prevalent that there are now hacking forums where people post pictures and videos of women obtained unknowingly by webcams. Gaining access to your computer is easier than you think. Hackers use remote administration tools called "ratters", and you guessed it mama, there are forums dedicated to teaching people how to use these too. Scary stuff.
As moms we are especially vulnerable since it’s not just ourselves we need to protect, it’s our kids privacy too.
14 You Need To Protect The Children
These days your little ones online identity is often shaped before they even know how to use a computer themselves. Every photo you post or update you share on your social media contributes to their digital footprint. Most savvy parents know this and are careful what they choose to post online. Others take their children's online identity so seriously they open up email addresses, social media profiles or even a web domain in their little prince or princesses name soon after they are born in an effort to control how they are portrayed online.
Reputation is everything online. But what if a stranger could access your webcam remotely and record your child or even send them messages through a chat window? It’s been know to happen and it opens up a whole can of worms. That hacker could send you pictures of your child to extort you, or post them online without your knowledge. So what can you do to help protect your little ones savvy mama? It’s important your children know not to talk to strangers in the online world. Another way to help keep them safe? You guessed it, invest in some tape to cover your laptop webcam.
13 Keep Precious Mama And Baby Moments Private
When you are bonding with baby and creating special memories the last thing you are thinking about is prying eyes. Bath time with rubber ducky, rocking your little one in their nursery, these everyday moments provide breaks of joy among the chaos that is parenting. There is no denying technology is an integral part of our lives, especially our home lives. We watch T.V. while we surf the web, we Google recipes in the kitchen, we sleep with our phones by out bedside tables. According to a survey on webcam hacking awareness 62% of participants in a study on said they use their laptops in the living room, 44% use laptops in the bedroom, an additional 39% use them in the kitchen and 8% even admitted to using them in the bathroom. Think about all of the opportunities that gives hackers to view us. Even worse, our laptops are often left open even when we are done using them, making it easier than ever for strangers to tune in to private family moments.
12 Mom’s Have Enough to Worry About Already
Raising tiny humans isn’t easy, actually it’s exhausting. Getting fussy eaters to chow down, night owls to sleep, doing laundry for what feels like a million times a day, all while teaching life lessons to raise quality people. It’s hard out here for a mama. We have enough to worry about besides some creeper cyber stalking us and our family! Being the victim of a cyber hack can be both time-consuming and emotionally draining to recover from. All your passwords need to be reset, and worse than that your confidence and sense of security can be threatened. While covering your laptop camera won’t completely eliminate the risk of all types of cyber attacks, it at least gives you peace of mind knowing a stranger can’t access the precious moments going on in your household.
11 Extortion Is More Prevalent Than You Think
Only the rich and famous get extorted right? Wrong. A fellow mama friend of mine recently had her personal photos stolen (including ones of her young daughters). She was then contacted anonymously on social media by the peeping Tom on who demanded compensation not to share them. Once she blocked him he created another account and kept on harassing her. After further investigation the bandit turned out to be a kid, who appeared to be about 14, from another country, who was clearly looking to make a buck off her. This kind of thing happens more often than we realize, stories like the one where FBI agents arrested a man accused of hacking into more than 100 computers are frequently in the news. In this case the criminal used personal information stolen from his victims to extort sexually explicit videos of young women and teenage girls. Sometimes hackers are money hungry, other times they are even more sick. Either way extortion isn’t something you should ever have to deal with mama.
10 The Webcam Notification Light Doesn't Help
Did you know even though it might not appear to be turned on your webcam can actually be running? That’s because the little light beside it, known as the webcam indicator LED, can be programmed to stay off while a hacker has control of your laptop. You might be surprised to learn how easy it is for a hacker to pull this trick off. There are step-by-step instructions available online that teach hackers how to deactivate the light on PC’s while still gaining access to your camera. Think you are safe on you bug-proof Mac? Think again. Instructions are available for those too. So if you don’t even know your laptop camera is set to on or record how can you protect your family? When it comes down to it covering your camera is the only real way to get peace of mind. If you are on a laptop now I’m going to bet you are reaching for the tape right about now!
9 Passwords Can Be Accessed Too
In addition to the programs that are used to record photos and videos on unsuspecting mama’s laptops, hackers are often able to use the same programs to record key strokes which then allow them to then gain access to your passwords and ultimately access sensitive information like your children’s SIN number or banking information. Think about how messy things could get if that happened. Lately it seem like we are bombarded with news about big corporations including Yahoo, Sony, Ebay, Target and more having their security compromises.
These companies, with their own IT departments, used to seem untouchable. The reality is both big corporations and individuals are vulnerable to attacks. Identity theft is a serious issue and it’s a huge pain to resolve. If you were a victim you would probably feel extremely angry and frustrated. Now think about how much more violated you would feel if the hacker behind the attack was also viewing your personal life without your knowledge via your webcam.
8 You Might Not Know Big Brother Is Watching
Unfortunately it’s not usually possible to know you are being watched via your laptop camera until it’s too late. Like I mentioned previously, hackers can actually remotely deactivate your camera’s notification light. In most cases the only way you would find out this happened is if you are later exhorted for pictures or money, or if the hacker decides to send you messages or pop ups.
Why would someone do such a thing? Sometimes is simply to have fun or get a reaction out of you, other times they could be posting that content online. Either way it’s never OK. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this situation, especially when covering your laptop camera is so simple. Whether you are caught rocking out to your favorite playlist or being during what should be private moments with your friends and loved ones, you don’t want Big Brother watching. After all, if you wanted to be a reality TV star you would apply for a show.
7 It’s Creepy AF And ‘Ratters’ Do It For Fun
Remember I mentioned hackers can use remote administration tools called "ratters" to access webcams? Well it turns out there is a whole subculture of people who hack for the thrill of it and the worst part is they are more than willing to share the footage with their online buddies. In fact YouTube has become a popular place to post the videos. Why? It seems it’s mostly just for the thrill of it. Think of it as show and tell for hackers. The more compromising footage they obtain or the more of a rise they can get out of their victim the better. There are literally videos online of people freaking out when their computers are remotely taken over. Do yourself a favor and don’t let these rats pull one over on you or use your family for likes. Hopefully by now you are starting to see why covering your webcam makes a great deal of sense.
6 Don’t Want To Unintentionally Become The Next Kim K
Do you remember the movie a few years back called Sex Tape that featured Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz? If you haven’t seen it I will fill you in, the plot is based on a tape that gets accidentally stored in the cloud and they are terrified it will ultimately be shared with the main characters family and friends, even their work colleagues. You will have to watch it to find out what happens. It sure made for a good comedy but that would be seriously detrimental in real life. OK mama you probably aren’t storing that sort of thing on your computer to be hacked, right? Side note, if you are please do yourself a favor and delete it immediately. The reality is you could be unknowingly watched or recorded doing private things like changing, showering or spending quality time with your significant other. Those things could then be posted anywhere online.
5 Kids Can Be Sent Inappropriate Material
Millennials are an era of kids who grew up bombarded with the life lesson of “stranger danger”, or don’t talk to people you don’t know. Today, as many of us become parents ourselves we have the important job of teaching our children how to navigate not only strangers in the real world but also on the Internet and social media. As parents we will probably monitor our kids social media accounts like true helicopter parents to try and protect them from bullies and online predators. The last thing we want happening is for them to be contacted by a predator online, yet that’s exactly what can happen when you laptop camera is hacked. It’s beyond creepy that hackers can send our kids pop up messages and inappropriate material when they see them sitting in front of a laptop. Also equally concerning is the fact that these same people can remotely view their day to day activities.
4 High-profile People Cover Their Laptop Cameras
If everyone was doing something would you do it too? The answer is it depends who those people are. In this case those people are technology and security guru’s. When Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, covers his laptop maybe it’s worth considering. When and FBI Director James Comey recommends it and calls it the “sensible thing to do”, I would go so far to say it is for sure. When James of the FBI is telling us to take responsibility for our own safety and security to avoid being spied on we should probably take note. The jury is out on whether you really need to put your phone in a microwave every time you want to have a private conversation like Edward Snowden did in the movie Snowden, that might be considered paranoid. However covering your webcam with a piece of tape or the like doesn’t make you paranoid anymore, especially when experts are recommending it.
3 Conversations Could Be Recorded Too
With recent developments like Google admitting they sometimes record and store our conversations it's no wonder privacy seems nonexistent these days. At least when Google tapes us we apparently have an option to delete the files. When a hacker gains control of our private conversations getting them deleted isn’t so simple. You could be sharing vulnerable information like when you are going on vacation, where your kids schools are etc. with a total stranger. Not exactly comforting is it. If you look closely at the photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s laptop you will see he put tape not only over his laptop’s camera but over its microphone input too. Experts are torn about how useful this is however if it could lessen you chances of being a target it's worth a try.
2 Covering Laptop Camera Won’t Break the Bank
It’s not rocket science and you don’t need to be an IT genius to crack the code. All you need to is cover your laptop camera. So what’s the best method? Your could use a simple piece of tape, duct tape or painting tape work best. Post-it notes do the trick too and are easy to remove if you do need to use your webcam from time to time for Skype calls or business meetings. Don’t have either item handy? You can always raid your children’s sticker collection or medicine cabinet for a band-aid, it might not be the prettiest option but it does the job. Covering your laptop camera is on of the most cost-effective security precautions you can take. Still not convinced? An alternate security measure is to close your laptop lid when it’s not in use to prevent anyone from spying on you in your home, but it doesn’t stop people creeping while you are sitting at the screen.
1 Crime Is Up And Moms Are A Target
Mama I hate to break this to you but cybercrime is up these days and the statistics are not pretty. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study there has been a 38% increase in the instances of phishing scams and other cyber security incidents from 2015 to 2016. Attacks are expected to become even more prevalent in 2017. This coupled with the fact that women are more likely to be targets than men are. While you can’t eliminate every threat of cybercrime that could come your way, covering your laptop camera can help reduce the risk for both you and your family. Whether you are a mother or a mother to be, you want the best for your little ones. Think of covering your laptop camera as one more step to take to baby-proofing your home. Don’t forget to pass this piece of advice on to your girlfriends over your next coffee (aka mom-fuel) date.