Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg Uses a Very Low-Tech Solution to Thwart Spies

Mark Zuckerberg Uses a Very Low-Tech Solution to Thwart Spies
Image credit: PC Mag

Celebrities -- they're just like us: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg tapes his laptop webcam and microphone to avoid being spied on.

The paranoid tactic was spotted by developer Chris Olson Tuesday, when the young entrepreneur shared a photo of himself at his desk, celebrating Instagram's 500 million monthly users.

Look closely -- past the corny picture frame and goofy grin -- and you can spot a piece of black masking tape on the left side of Zuck's laptop, as well as clear tape blocking the built-in camera at the top.

The strategy is not uncommon, especially among high-profile people who may be targeted by hackers. FBI director James Comey, for example, recently admitted to covering his computer's webcam, arguing that "absolute privacy" has never existed in America.

In late 2013, researchers uncovered a loophole in Apple's iSight system that allowed them to hack into some versions of MacBook laptops and iMac desktops to disable the webcam indicator LED.

Nearly a year later, a UK privacy watchdog issued a warning about a Russian website that streams live footage from insecure webcams -- from CCTV networks to baby monitor cameras -- around the world.

So, really, Zuckerberg is entirely justified in taping up his machine in an effort to keep anyone from extortionist hackers to the National Security Agency out of his life.

(And yes, that's his laptop: It's sitting on the same desk he showed off during a Facebook Live video tour last fall --complete with personalized graffiti, satellite model, and sunscreen).

Facebook did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.


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