FBI director James Comey: Everyone should cover up their laptop webcams right now

The FBI has advised everyone to cover up their computers’ webcams to stop them being spied on.

Leaving webcams open means that hackers can break into them and watch everything that users are doing, security experts have claimed.

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The importance of that was revealed earlier this year when pictures showed that Mark Zuckerberg had covered the webcam on his MacBook Pro.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – FEBRUARY 27: FBI director James Comey speaks during a news conference at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on February 27, 2014 in San Francisco, California. FBI director Comey met with members of the media and local law enforcement officials while in the San Francisco Bay Area to attended the RSA Security conference. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Now those warnings have been backed by FBI director James Comey, who says that it is one of the “sensible things” that people can do.

Though the webcams on laptops might be useful, they’re also one of the most valuable things a hacker can get access to. Once they do so, they can easily watch and record things that go on around them – and that information can be used later for blackmail, breaking into other security systems, or worse.

Previous leaks have suggested that governments including the US have likely tapped into webcams as a way of gathering information on citizens.

Mr Comey said that all government offices cover up the cameras and that normal citizens should be doing the same.

“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,” Comey said regarding webcam covers. “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. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

Web security company Hide My Ass! recently announced that it had started making special gadgets to sit over the top of people’s webcams, in case hackers broke in. Those little bits of plastic also feature a lens that means people can slot in an image and have it show to anyone who broke in.

Others exist for laptops, desktop computers and iPhones, too.

– James Comey –

James Brien “Jim” Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer and the current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Comey was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and subsequently, theUnited States Deputy Attorney General, from December 2003 to August 2005. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), and ran its day-to-day operations.

In December 2003, as U.S. Deputy Attorney General, Comey appointed the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Illinois, close friend and former colleague Patrick Fitzgerald, to be the Special Counsel to head the CIA Leak Grand Jury Investigation, after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.

In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and became General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2010, he became General Counsel at Bridgewater Associates, based in Westport, Connecticut. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become a Senior Research Scholar and a Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School in the city of New York. He served on the Board of Directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013.

In September 2013, Comey was appointed Director of the FBI by President Barack Obama. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy. His role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly with regard to his public communications, was highly controversial, and has been cited as a decisive factor in Clinton’s electoral loss to Donald Trump.

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(The Independent Online staff contributed for this report – Content edited for style and length by Alad Von Dari via VOP)