Last week, a picture of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was posted online to celebrate Instagram’s 500 millionth user.

However, some eagle-eyed users noticed that Zuckerberg covered his laptop’s microphone and webcams with sticky tape. According to Kaspersky Lab, this isn’t an odd practice. In fact, around 13% of South Africans admit that they cover up their webcam as well.

“Useful in itself, it’s important to recognise that covering a webcam cannot prevent audio interception and protect users from being listened to by hackers or malicious groups,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement. “The research shows Internet users turning to a number of different methods to keep their privacy safe.”

Kaspersky said that its research revealed that 34% of Internet users in South Africa store their sensitive data on devices that have no Internet access. But the internet security company warns that this will not guarantee their data’s protection.

“Although this theory is grounded in logic, and is essential for securing backup data from the effects of a ransomware attack, even without an Internet connection it is possible for a device to be infected via a connected smartphone or USB stick,” Kaspersky said.

The report also reveals that 11% of South Africans actively try to avoid websites like Google and Facebook because of the personal information they gather.

“These findings demonstrate two extremes – on the one hand there are people who think they can keep their data safe by, for example, hiding their computers; but on the other hand there are still those who are simply not taking the necessary precautions online,” said David Emm, Principal Security Researcher from Kaspersky Lab.

“People need to become more cyber-savvy – with today’s security solutions it’s possible to protect yourself from cyberthreats, without having to go to the extreme lengths of hiding a computer.”

[Image – Instagram/Chris Olson]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.