X-Files: Who’s Paranoid Now?


xf1As an X-Files fan from the very beginning, it was a complete treat to watch the recently revived six-episode event of one of the best sci-fi series ever. There was just so much to love: the chemistry between the two FBI agents – one a believer in UFOs and paranormal everything, the other a believer in faith and science; the creative story lines; the pervasive humor blended with sci-fi and horror themes, the terrific writing – you get it – I’m a FAN. (Seriously, I went to the only X-Files Convention in NYC in the nineties – before Comi-Con was even a thing.)

Some of what I appreciated about the redux version included all the references to Edward Snowden, the government conspiracies as they relate to today’s intricate and ubiquitous technology, and the privacy issues. In one of the new episodes I particularly enjoyed catching Mulder working on his laptop while fiddling with what looked like a piece of worn duct tape over the laptop’s webcam. YES! This cracked me up! Because, wait for it, I DID THIS TOO. The only difference is, I just have a piece of cardboard taped over my webcam.

Webcam Hacking is Real

Keep I mind, I don’t usually have my laptop open, so the fear of webcam invasion is relatively minor. That said, one day when I did leave my laptop open while it was slogging through some updates, I heard what I thought was a camera click – the same kind that’s made when I take a picture with my laptop’s camera app. I checked to see if the camera app was somehow left running and it wasn’t. Then, even when I wasn’t thinking about it, I started hearing that camera click sound at different and inconsistent times while using my computer. I already knew that it was possible for someone to hack your webcam; even when it’s off, so I covered up that bugger pronto.

web-eye23One of my friends, who works with computers regularly, even mocked me for it. And because this type of privacy-play often begs the question “What are you doing that you don’t want someone to see?” I usually counter with “It’s the equivalent of someone peeking in my windows while I’m at home. Doesn’t matter if I’m baking a cake. It’s creepy and it’s an invasion of my privacy.” Period. End of discussion.


While doing some research on webcam hacking I came across so many reports of this happening to unsuspecting victims. Yeah. It’s a real thing and apparently, it’s easy. Here’s a link to an earlier DCT article: Security Tip: Turn Your Webcam OFF When Not In Use, which, by the way, ends with the wonderfully cheap idea of just covering up your webcam if you’re worried.

Hey, am I just being paranoid here? Oh HELL NO. If Fox Mulder is doing it, I’m fine with it. Just call me Careful. How about you? Are you getting the duct tape out yet?

 

About the Author

Karen Homan

Karen is a 14 year veteran at an upstate New York college where she writes and edits end-user documentation to educate faculty and staff in computer software. She has been involved with software training for over 17 years, is experienced in producing training videos, blogs about technology, and creates instructional material for her day job. One of her passions is figuring things out. Her favorite motto is IBM’s old one word slogan: THINK.

9 Comments

  1. Add me to the list of X-Files fans who absolutely enjoyed the recent 6 episode run. My wife doesn’t understand, but I hope it’s something FOX seriously considers bringing back full time!

    • I do also, Dave. Just having the original actors do the new shows was tremendously satisfying. I thought they retained the atmosphere, humor, writing, and relationship between the characters intact. Just wish we could have seen more of the Lone Gunmen!

  2. I too am an x-files fan and while watching the mini series I began to wonder if the two agents in the are being prepped to replace Mulder and scully.

    • of course – if it is coming back. You guys are lucky – my life is such that I forgot about the 6 episode mini-series. But hopefully it will be out on DVD soon, then I can catch up.

      Fox and Dana are too expensive. Fox doesn’t want expensive – they want cheap. Why?!?! Advertisers want cheaper air rates. Young people watching want cheap products. Older folks like me will watch, but Fox, and advertisers don’t want us (any show that got cancel after 1 to 3 seasons – such as The Defenders, Harry’s Law, etc.) was because the advertisers wanted a younger audience of 18 to 38, instead of oldsters (who by the way have the majority of money 🙂 ) to be watching but we don’t spend the money, you young whipper-snappers do. So in simpler words, yeah, Fox and Dana if X-Files comes back will be changed out. :}

      • I think part of the demise of the original series was that they replaced Mulder and Scully. Even though it “looks” like they might use those two younger agents, I have to say in all seriousness, true fans of the series won’t put up with that switch again. I say, I don’t think Fox’ll do that. Plus, I do think they can “afford” them for these mini series type events and both actors are committed to other series’ of their own. We’ll see, eh?!

  3. Even before you wrote this article, I didn’t trust cameras on computers. I go back to 1977 when I built my first :P. I have never had a camera on any of my 15 or so systems I built since then. And taping a piece of cardboard over the lens is a great idea, though I have used tape a time or too when I had to use my works laptop.

    and your question

    “And because this type of privacy-play often begs the question “What are you doing that you don’t want someone to see?” “ (lets see if that works)

    Maybe I am sitting naked in front of the screen, lol. We have been taught too long to be ashamed of being naked in the States (nudist learned not to be ashamed) and if we are with someone we trust like our spouses, then that’s fine, but the moment a stranger peeks in, then, all hell breaks loose.

    Here’s a thought for ya – what about your built in microphone? You sure whoever “they” is, that you aren’t being listened too? That’s a scary thought too.

  4. I’ve alsp been an X-Files fan forever, but I’ve also had my web camera covered with duct tape since they were first put on computers. I just don’t trust people. Period. Too many bad guys out there.

    It’s the easiest, cheaped fix for for the camera hack there is, so I’m in.

    Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the new X-Files and I sooooo wanted to.

  5. I’m not sure about the microphone Hawk, but maybe just turning it off or the volume down will affect it. It’s such a shame we have to be so wary of our privacy these days, hey, what about our cell phone cameras/mics?! So many apps have access to those, there HAS to be someone sneaking a peek, eh?! Careful where you leave that laying around too I suppose! 🙂 Sorry you didn’t like the new series, I LOVED IT.