Now that there's a front-facing camera built into all your gadgets today - such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even some smart TVs - shouldn't you be even a little concerned about someone watching you?
And what about the cameras you have in or outside your home? Or hidden in an Airbnb rental?
While you need not panic, yes, you should be a little worried, as it's not unheard of for someone to remotely access your camera without your knowledge or consent, with several examples in the news (see here, here, here, here, and here).
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Perhaps this is why Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former FBI director James Comey both put tape over their computer's camera when not in use.
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And it's not just for PCs: last July, a webcam vulnerability for Mac users of Zoom videoconferencing software was found (and patched) after an automatic system update that left the camera open for spying.
If you're not sure what to do, computer users may consider the following precautions to minimize the odds of someone spying.
Unplug or cover up your webcams
If you're using an external webcam - that is, one that plugs into your computer's USB port - only connect it when you need it. Yes, it can be a pain to remember to plug it in whenever you want to video chat with someone, but at least you'll know 100% you aren't been spied on if there's no camera connected.
Most computers, though, have a camera built into the monitor. If there's a small lens cover to close over the camera, use it. Don't place tape over your webcam or else it could leave a sticky residue on the lens, but you can buy little covers to place over your laptop's lens from your local dollar store, or as low as $2 each at Amazon.
A few laptops, including some HP Spectre models, have a physical "kill switch" on the side to disable the webcam when not in use.
Anti-malware software, good passwords
If your laptop or desktop has a built-in webcam, be sure to have good computer security software installed (which you should have anyway, of course). A strong security suite includes antivirus, anti-spyware, a firewall, and other tools to keep the bad guys from getting in. It's critical to keep the security software up to date. (Personally, I use ESET, which has webcam detection.)
Some webcam hackers use Trojan horse malware to secretly install and run remote desktop software without your knowledge. You may think you're downloading one thing, when in fact it's carrying a hidden payload. Don't click on attachments or any suspicious links in an email, text, or social media message.
A couple of web browsers will notify you if your webcam is being activated and you may be prompted to agree to turn it on.
Be sure your wireless network has strong security settings and a good password - not the default one that came with the router -- to prevent outsiders from accessing your Wi-Fi network without your consent. Resist using free, unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots in cafés, hotels, and airports (instead, turn your phone into a personal hotspot).
Speaking of passwords, you might see an email that suggests the person "knows what you do" on the web and will share video evidence of it, captured on your webcam, if you don't pay up. Ignore these "sexploitation" scams. But you'll notice they often cite a password you really do use (or did use) - likely because some service you use suffered a data breach - so it's a good reminder to change your passwords and never use the same one for all your online activity.
Beware, should you need a PC repair
If you need to have your computer repaired, take it to a trustworthy source or else an ill-intentioned technician could secretly install spying software on your PC. Ensure remote access programs aren't on your laptop or desktop you didn't install yourself. If you find something, immediately uninstall it and bring it to a trusted source.
On a related note, be cautious about where you solicit remote tech support, where you allow someone to access your PC from somewhere else in order to fix it. Don't let a technician take control over your computer unless you fully trust the source.
Another tip is to go to the webcam's Settings/Options and enable some form of a notification when it's being used, such as a small light that turns on near the webcam or a sound alert - if it doesn't do it by default. Many webcams will have a small light illuminate when activated.
Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast at www.marcsaltzman.com.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Webcams can help keep your home safe. Here's how to secure them.