When I train clients’ employees on data privacy and security, I always mention the microphone on smartphones. They are powerful and if you allow apps access to your microphone, they can listen to every one of your conversations [see related privacy tip]. Do you want every one of your conversations to be accessible by someone who is not part of the conversation? I find that people still don’t understand how the microphone on their phone can pick up virtually every conversation if the microphone feature is on all the time. Take a look at the microphone setting on your phone and turn it off when you are not using the particular application that has requested access to the microphone.

News broke this week that the CEO of Facebook “tapes over his camera and microphone” on his laptop. Let’s just admit that the CEO of Facebook is pretty tech savvy.

Security experts say that hackers are able to gain access to devices, including laptops and smartphones through the use of remote-access Trojans—a process known as “ratting.” They gain access to the camera of your device and can literally watch you while you are at your computer. That’s pretty creepy. They then try to use the images for voyeurism to extortion. And it is a growing problem–especially for women.

Security experts say that taping over the camera and microphone of your device is a good security practice and will keep hackers from being able to spy on you. It is a cheap and effective security tool.

It is reported that not only does the CEO of Facebook tape over the camera and microphone, the head of the FBI does too. Hmmm….going to find some tape…

Of course, I couldn’t find any masking tape or electrical tape in our home, but I found weather-stripping, which did the trick. The camera and microphone on my laptop are now weather-stripped against hackers.