In a picture that was supposed to be celebrating Instagram, Zuckerberg has revealed that his MacBook Pro has tape covering the camera at the top of the screen and microphone jack on the side.Source: Wikimedia Commons
Zuckerberg’s Instagram Picture
Instagram, owned by Facebook since 2012, has hit 500 million users. To celebrate and promote this fact, Mark Zuckerberg, was snapped at his desk, holding an Instagram cardboard cut-out and smiling away.
However, the eagle-eyed observers out there have been more interested in what is in the background of the picture.
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Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you
Chris Olson (@topherolson) on Twitter noted three things from the photo, “Camera covered with tape, Mic jack covered with tape, Email client is Thunderbird.”
There were questions about whether it was actually his Mac in the background of the shot, but Gizmodo have double checked with a live video Zuckerberg made last September giving a tour of his desk and have confirmed that it his.
So assuming it is his Mac, what does it mean if the CEO of one of the biggest technology companies is doing this?
Well, firstly, Zuckerberg is probably on higher alert than normal right now, after his social media accounts, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest were hacked earlier this month, (though in a small win for Zuckerberg, they were unable to gain entry to his Facebook or Instagram). This was obviously highly embarrassing for such a high profile techie.
As the CEO of one of the most important tech companies in the world, we can assume he has a pretty good insight into what hackers are doing and their capabilities.
Zuckerberg is not the only one to be adopting these measures. FBI Director James Comey covers his camera with tape in a similar fashion. When asked about it, he explained that ‘I put a piece of tape over the camera because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”
If he does it, should you?
It is always better to be safe than sorry. It costs next to nothing, and will mean that if a hacker should remotely take control of your computer, at least they won’t be able to see you in your underwear dancing round the room like an idiot, (or is that just me?).
The chances are slim but why take the risk?
Once a computer has been hacked, installing ‘backdoors’ is a pretty standard way for hackers to pass the time. There are a number of hacker forums with people sharing their stories about using people’s computers against them, as advanced bugging devices or cameras.
Those with a Mac will be pleased to know that while your camera can still be hacked, it is likely you will know if it has been turned on. There is a small green light next to the camera that comes on when the camera is active.
This is operated from deep down in the computer’s hardware, meaning it is very difficult (but unfortunately not impossible) for any virtual intruders to turn it off.
The email application, Thunderbird, is a slightly unusual choice. It is produced by Mozilla, (who also make the Firefox browser) but has never really had any mainstream penetration. It may not actually be Thunderbird; other people have speculated that it may be Cisco VPN client.