The internet brought about a change in how we humans view information. Instead of becoming the information superhighway embraced by billions of people as a way to connect, learn, share, and exchange valuable information, instead, the interwebs has become a cesspool of sorts that spawned the age of fake news and government spying. Who do you trust? What can you trust?
We’ve heard of government exploits so serious that our electronic devices have become spy tools; everything from iPhone to Mac, television to microwaves. Can any device be trusted in an age of rampant paranoia, misinformation, and government sponsored spying?
But a few old fashioned remedies can help. For those of us worried that our Mac’s built-in iSight camera might be hacked by the government or other nefarious agents (if there’s a difference), a piece of masking tape can take down some personal espionage attempts with ease.
A quick search of Amazon reveals a cottage industry in webcam covers, iPhone camera covers, including simple but colorful stickers that press on and peel off with ease; and others which feature a simple slider– slide to open, slide back to close. It’s a sad indictment of our modern society which requires Mac, iPhone, and iPad users to be so paranoid, but at least some of the solutions to ease the fears and paranoia are old fashioned simplicity.
Wait. What about the built-in microphones?
News reports tell us that both governments and criminal hackers have found vulnerabilities in nearly every device which allow them to view through a device’s camera (fixed above) and listen to conversations.
Turning off the microphone may not help so what can you do to avoid having your conversations recorded by those with or without proper authorization?
I’ve prepared a list of actions which may go a long way to ease your fears and reduce your security and privacy paranoia.
Do Not Talk – this seems logical, but if you don’t know who is listening or why or how, keeping your thoughts to yourself seems like a good idea. Silence is golden.
Speak Softly – this goes hand in hand with turning on running water in the shower while speaking; the soft voice and louder background sound– especially running water– makes it more difficult for the Mission Impossible crowd to determine subject matter and content.
Speak in Code – pig latin might see a comeback, and you can still find books on Morse Code in the library; but don’t check out the book– they’ll know. Creating your own code shouldn’t be a challenge, either. You can learn to speak in emoji, or copy how a teenager speaks (that’s indecipherable code).
Tape the Mac’s Mic – this is a version of what you do to the Mac, iPhone, or iPad’s camera; a small piece of removable tape that covers the microphone so sounds cannot be recorded.
What about the spies who have taken over your television or microwave?
That’s a slightly different issue, but with similar solutions. Do not watch TV. Do not hang around the microwave. Or, for that matter, any appliance with or without an internet connection. You can never be too sure. Because when everyone is out to get you or spy on you a little paranoia is exactly the right attitude to have.
One more question. Why does my television need an ethernet connector or Wi-Fi?