Will putting tape on your computer's webcam stop people from spying on you? Well, the answer is more complicated than you think. It will probably prevent the invader from seeing you (especially if you double up on tape) but there's still a chance they have access your microphone.
At the end of the day, there's more to protecting your privacy than putting tape on your webcam. So, whether it's shutting your laptop or downloading protective software, here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from shady individuals.
Cover your webcam with black electrical tape
The simplest solution is to cover your webcam with black electrical tape. If a single strip isn't doing it for you, you can always double up. However, if you'd rather not have tape residue on your webcam, you can always purchase a magnetic protector for about $5 on Amazon. When you're done using your webcam, just slide the cover in place. It's easy to do and won't interfere with you closing your laptop.
Close your laptop when you're not using it
If you're not interested in electrical tape or a magnetic cover, you can always close your laptop when you're not using it. While it's not impossible, I imagine it might be pretty difficult for someone to spy on you with the laptop shut. If I ever leave my laptop open around the house, my husband will always close it or turn it towards the wall. It's better to be safe than sorry, that's for sure.
Avoid clicking suspicious links or attachments
If you receive an e-mail from someone you don't know, you really shouldn't open it. In fact, the best course of action is to throw it in the trash and set it on fire. This is one of the many ways webcam malware spreads. The same goes for ads on social media, ridiculously long links, and e-mail attachments. If there's one proverb I live my life by, it's this: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Make sure you're using antivirus software
Try to think of antivirus software as a bodyguard—it not only protects your machine against incoming threats, it destroys them too. That's why it's so important to have antivirus software on your computer. Even if you're a cautious browser who avoids suspicious links and such, you can still get infected just by visiting a website. While I recommend you practice common sense when browsing, that doesn't mean you're totally protected.
Download the OverSight app for Mac
OverSight is a free app that lets you know when your computer's webcam is active. In addition to monitoring your webcam and microphone, it also tells you which application is trying to use them. Plus, the interface is really easy to navigate. It's not perfect, as some malware may get through undetected, but it's nice to have. I see it as another tool in the tool belt, so to speak.
Download the Who Stalks My Cam app for Windows
Who Stalks My Cam is another free program that tells you which application is trying to use your webcam. There's also a "Webcam Events" list that shows you recent webcam access. While I prefer OverSight's interface, this app has more useful features. For example, we like that you can set your own specific security rules. The only downside is that it doesn't monitor your microphone as well.