Our computers– Mac, iPhone, iPad– hold more personal and valuable information than we realize, plus, all are gateways to additional information that hackers and Google (similar bunch of thieves) would enjoy owning.
How many vector points of attack are there each of our Apple devices? Internet, of course. Login, too. What about camera and microphone? Yes, those are ways that our devices can be hacked; and hackers use them to gain additional information. Can they be stopped?
Candid Camera notwithstanding, there are many ways to view us when we least expect to be viewed, and one that scares me more than a little is through the lens of our cameras– iPhone, iPad, and, yes, Mac.
Not long ago I came across information about InvisiMole. It’s PC malware that does what you don’t want. Hackers use it to view people through a personal computer’s camera.
They turn the affected computer into a video camera, letting the attackers see and hear what’s going on in the victim’s office or wherever their device may be. Uninvited, InvisiMole’s operators access the system, closely monitoring the victim’s activities and stealing the victim’s secrets.
Just in case someone installed InvisiMole on the Windows PC we have sitting in a corner of the family room, I wear brightly colored underwear (of the male persuasion; boxers, of course) so consider this an extraordinary attempt at full disclosure so the hackers will not be able to frame me.
Researchers who found InvisiMole claim it has not spread far, but how would they know? Other video camera and microphone software has been discovered elsewhere in recent years. How can one protect against such an invasion of privacy?
Well, it’s easy.
Masking tape. Or, Post-It notes. Or, chewing gum. Or, go to the expense of buying those little flaps of plastic available on Amazon that cover up a camera but are easily removed when you need to Skype or FaceTime.
Compared to their Windows and Android brethren, Macs and iPhones (and iPads) are vastly more secure to outside hackers who could gain access to your selfie or FaceTime camera. Yet, the threat exists so why take the chance? After all, when you travel or visit Starbucks or use someone else’s Wi-Fi you use a VPN. You do use a VPN, right?
I’m of the opinion that you cannot stop a hacker if he or she or it (most are automated bots that scour IP addresses for connection weaknesses) target you specifically, but precautions are necessary because the government gets hacked, corporations get hacked, online retailers get hacked, banks get hacked, so the only real security we have are, 1) good passwords, 2) VPNs, 3) good online habits, and 4) something to cover up the camera.
Those little sticky flaps you find on Amazon are removed easily enough so if you use a Mac in an office, they’re a worthy addition to your security routine.
Chewing gums works, too. Don’t leave it on too long. Brush after every use.
What do such security requirements and routines tell us about humanity? We know that “no good deed goes unpunished” so suffice it to say that “no new technology to help mankind comes without a negative side.”