If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately you might be worried about the government hacking into your computer, phone, or Samsung TV in order to listen in to what you’re doing and maybe even record you with your own camera.
Personally, I’m not worried about the government hacking me. I’m the most boring person on the planet, so that would be some wasted man-hours on their part. But I do worry about a bored teenager breaking into one of my cameras and turning it on without me knowing.
And again, I’m pretty boring. But a lot of that “boringness” is stuff that I still wouldn’t really want other people to see. I mean, do you use your phone in the bathroom? Go ahead and turn your camera on, first the front (OMG, the angle! I look like an ogre!), then the back (wow, nice shot of my underwear). What do you see? Would you really want someone else to see that?
Or what about your laptop? Mine just shows me and the mantle behind me with one camera, and my dining room table on the other side. Anybody hacking into that would see a lot of eating, maybe some nose picking (shut up), and mostly staring at the screen. Nothing exciting.
But do you have a kid with a laptop? Does she keep her laptop open in her bedroom or dorm room, facing the room? Think of everything that could be recorded.Worried about your smartphone or computer camera getting hacked? Here are inexpensive solutions! Click To Tweet
I know people who’ve tried using tape or Post-It Notes as a camera cover, and it was bad. Phones and computers get warm, and the glue can stick to the camera, leaving you with a sticky residue to clean off, possibly damaging the camera. So I didn’t want to go that route.
I bought a couple of different kinds of camera covers and tried them out for a week, and I’m really happy with them.
These are little squares that have a sticky side, but they don’t leave any residue. I bought a pack of 3 for about $8, so these are a very inexpensive solution.
According to the description on Amazon you can remove and re-stick these 250,000 times. If they get less sticky, it’s probably because something got onto the sticky side, like dust, or oils from your fingers. This is why when I take one off to use a camera, I stick it to another part of my phone so that the sticky part stays covered. But if it does lose its tackiness, you can rinse it off and let it dry, and it will stick like new again (at least according to the directions).
These were big enough to use on the double camera on the front of my phone, and small enough to use on the recessed lens on the back of my phone.
It did take a little while to get used to having to take it off each time I want to take a picture. For the first couple of days I would turn on my phone’s camera app and wait…and wait…thinking that the black screen was just my phone being super slow. And then I would realize that the sticker was still on! But I got used to it and now I usually remember to take it off.
I’ve kept my phone in my back pocket and in my purse, and the stickers have stayed in place. I’m really happy with this product. It’s a cheap, easy solution that won’t leave your lens dirty.
I also tried it out on my Surface tablet, and it worked well! I’m using the third one for the camera on the back of my computer.
This solution is a little more expensive, but also better looking and a bit more permanent. It was about $10 for one. It sticks onto your phone or computer and you slide a little metal cover off of your camera to use it, and then back on for privacy.
I put this on the front-facing camera of my Surface tablet, which is my main computer. I sit in front of that camera for many hours every day.
It was easy to attach: I put it in place, making sure that it wasn’t blocking my camera at all. I pressed down for ten seconds, and it was on. The Amazon description says that the hold is strong, but not permanent.
It’s only 1mm thick. I closed my Surface and the cover didn’t interfere with whatever sensors my computer uses in order to shut down when closed.
When I needed to use my camera for a video call, I just slid the cover out of the way with my thumb. Couldn’t be easier!
If your phone has enough space around the camera, you could use this on a phone as well. It’s not at all big, but many smartphone cameras wouldn’t have enough space right around them, or a smartphone cover would get in the way. It’s roughly half an inch long and a quarter of an inch wide (.49” x .28”), in case you want to check your own phone to see if it would fit.
If you want to see both kinds in action, here’s a video. I even added scary music to try to scare you into covering your cameras! :-D