Finally a well written and detailed expose on the vulnerabilities of laptop webcams! I’ve had a strong hunch for a long time that spying on laptop users is not only an easy feat, but commonplace. Of course, my biggest enemy is the state, mainly because with the amount of resources they wield, even daunting tasks can usually be overcome. But by the looks of it, spying on laptop users isn’t daunting at all.
This means your privacy is under threat from non state-affiliated criminals as well. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t end as well as it starts. It gives us the same typical hullabaloo we always get; use anti-virus software, don’t visit “dangerous” sites, don’t click random links, and don’t pirate movies. Basically, don’t have any fun and always live a life of fear on the internet. On, and rely on some corporation to protect you!
Furthermore, use desktops over laptops. One of the aspects I love about my desktop is that the only microphone or webcam it has are ones I voluntarily attached to it. This means I’m never in doubt about whether or not my images or sounds are being recorded without my knowledge. They simply aren’t plugged in if not in use. Naturally, people aren’t going to stop using laptops, but I imagine there has to be laptops for sale for the security minded, i.e. ones that do not come with webcams and microphones pre-installed. If not, then all I can do is stress using Linux again.
Users can also cover their webcams with pieces of paper. And don’t worry about looking like a paranoid weirdo. I’ve seen other people do that and I think it is a good trend to propagate.
The truth is that right and wrong are not at play here. There are a lot of criminals in the world. The law is not going to stop them. Morality is not going to stop them. The only thing that is going to stop them is when individuals take their security seriously and defend themselves. People like myself never had to be victimized online in order to take online security seriously. I was able to empatihize with others, such as libertarians are apt to do. But many people are probably going to have to be victims themselves before they get serious about security. You can be a shining example for others by taking security seriously yourself. As libertarian activists, it should be a matter of self-respect if nothing else.