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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008
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Is your laptop spying on you?
I'm thinking about buying a laptop. However, a friend told me new computers have spy cameras installed. Is this true? Can I get a laptop that doesn't have a spy camera?
However, many manufacturers are including built-in Webcams. They're usually placed on the laptop lid, just above the screen.
Webcams let you video chat with friends and family. They can see and hear you. If they have Webcams, too, you'll be able to see and hear them.
You have control over the Webcam. You can turn it on and off as you wish. So, you can choose who gets to see you.
Spy cams, on the other hand, are different, at least in theory. You'd have no control over them. You wouldn't even know they're there.
Spy cams can be hidden in virtually anything. Read my column to learn the scary truth about spy gadgets.
Your Webcam could be a point of concern. A criminal could commandeer your Webcam. That's probably a long shot, but it could happen.
For example, Adobe recently disclosed a flaw in its ubiquitous Flash Player. Criminals could use the flaw to spy using a computer's Webcam and microphone. Apparently, the flaw isn't difficult to exploit. Criminals would just need to convince you to click on a malicious link.
It is also possible that someone could load Webcam spy software on the laptop. The software could give someone remote access to your Webcam.
This recently happened in Florida. A college student loaded such software on women's laptops. The software snapped 20,000 photos of one of the women. It then uploaded them to a Web server in Eastern Europe.
The victim noticed a light each time she passed the computer. A computer technician found the offending software. The police subsequently arrested Craig Feigin, 23. He confessed, and gave the police the names of other victims. Feigin faces federal charges.
Integrated Webcams can turn the tables on crooks, too. For example, they can help recover stolen laptops.
Some laptop recovery programs access computers' Webcams. They can take pictures of thieves and e-mail them to the owners. This could help identify the thief.
If integrated Webcams bother you, no problem. You'll find plenty of laptops that don't have them. That is, unless you're looking at Macs. All of Apple's new laptops have built-in Webcams. Same goes for the iMac.
The trend is to include Webcams in laptops. So, a laptop you like may have one. It can easily be rendered ineffectual.
Don't break it! Just cover it. Tape a piece of dark cloth over the Webcam, for example. This could be removed easily, should you decide to use the Webcam. You could put the tape itself over the lens, of course. But it might leave residue when it's removed.
Want to learn more about Webcams? Check out these great tips on my site:
You can have a lot of fun with a Webcam. If you need some ideas, don't miss these tips and free programs:
Tough times? I have help
Banks failing. Stocks falling. Families losing their homes. This year has brought us a litany of misery.
This month, an abrupt surge of sad e-mail arrived in my computer. Let me tell you, many of my listeners are hurting.
So, I thought about where I could help. One obvious answer was the Internet. There's a great deal of information on the Web. And I know how to find it. I know where to find free software, too.Last week, I put together a special Web page. It has lots of links that can help you. And it's easy to find. Just click here. You can also reach it from my home page. Click on Kim's Money Center.
Every day, Team Komando produces some of the best content you'll find anywhere on the Internet. Here is a sampling of what's new on our site today!
• Enter Today: Would you like a quality camcorder that fits right in your pocket? Today only, enter to win Pure Digital's Flip Ultra Camcorder during the Komando.com Giveaway of the Day. This camcorder shoots DVD-quality video and offers advanced editing features. It's valued at $150.
• Video of the Day: Beagles are cute and friendly dogs. But I bet you didn't know they were daredevils! Check out this beagle's escape act.
• Cool Site of the Day: Put away those scissors! You don't need to clip coupons from the paper. Just print them from this Cool Site of the Day.
• Digital Minute, on your radio: Health sites sound like a great way to store your medical information. But there's a catch with these sites.
• Free Download of the Day: Your cell phone holds a lot of information. It stores pictures, videos, e-mail and contacts. Learn how to back it up.
• Tip on the site: For most people, home reception is the worst part of owning a cell phone. If you have that problem, a femtocell might help.
Tomorrow's Tip, in your e-mail: Reporting online crime.
Copyright © 2008, The Kim Komando Show. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of The Kim Komando Show is prohibited and strictly enforced. Newsletters may contain links to sites on the Internet owned and operated by third parties. The Kim Komando Show is not responsible for the availability of, or the content located on or through, any such third-party site. Information in this document is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from infringement. The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. We will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this information, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages.
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