Cover your webcam with a piece of tape or sticker to thwart hackers, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
“Heck yeah, heck yeah,” Comey responded, when asked if he still had a piece of tape over his camera at home. “And also, I get mocked for a lot of things ... much mocked for that... but I hope people lock their cars ... lock your doors at night. I have an alarm system. If you have an alarm system you should use it, I use mine. It’s not crazy that the FBI Director cares about personal security as well.”
The comments were made during a broader discussion about cybersecurity and the internet of things.
“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them. You go into any government office and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. They all have a little lid that closes down on them,” Comey said. “You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”
This is not the first time Comey has acknowledged his concerns about illegal surveillance. Back in April, he revealed that he put a piece of tape over his laptop webcam because he “saw somebody smarter” than him do it.
At the time, many privacy activists slammed Comey’s perceived hypocrisy, given that FBI itself has used malwares to hack into laptop cameras to spy on targets.
Files dating to between 2008 and 2012, which were leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, also revealed details of a surveillance program codenamed “Optic Nerve” — a program run by the U.K.’s intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters with assistance from the U.S. National Security Agency. As part of the surveillance program, GCHQ intercepted and collected webcam images of nearly 2 million Yahoo users.
And Comey is far from the only high-profile individual — and thereby a high-value target for hackers — to use stickers or tapes to cover their laptop webcams. In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accidentally revealed, through a photo posted via Instagram, that he tapes over his Macbook camera.