Covering your computer microphone with tape will do nothing, here’s what you should do instead

Recently, Mark Zuckerberg had posted a picture on Instagram that had him and his Apple MacBook in the background. A closer look of the photograph revealed that not only Zuckerberg’s MacBook webcam but also the microphone of the MacBook was covered with what appeared like a tape, thereby explaining his paranoia about hackers snooping on his privacy.

While it may be thought that placing a tape over the microphone can ensure safety, Mashable decided to test this technique. However, on examination, they found that Zuckerberg’s method with clear tape as well as thicker gaffer’s tape did not work. In fact, it did not even reduce the microphone’s audio pickup even when doubled up.

While covering your webcam is a definite strategy to keep away webcam hackers, but if you wish to protect your microphone, you will have to be just a little extra creative.

It is quite simple. All you need to do is make your PC deaf to give hackers the run-around.

Just join a pair of earbuds that hold a microphone into your 3.5mm audio jack, then cut off the earbud with the mic on it — often the proper one — slightly below the mic.

While you may have destroyed a pair of headphones, this method does work.

Once you plug in earbuds with a built-in mic, your PC automatically changes the default audio input from the interior mic to the new external mic. Also, when you cut the line to the microphone, the PC does not go back to the default interior mic, and it cannot receive any audio from the (now missing) exterior mic, either.

However, it is possible for a hacker to switch the input audio back to the internal mic, if they have complete control over your computer. But, in case if they are running an automated program, they will probably only pick up whatever is currently set to default.

This is how you can provide higher level of security to your PC than Mark Zuckerberg’s, thanks to Mashable.


    • No. Without a mic attacked to the jack, the switch from internal microphones to external ones doesn’t happen. So plugging in anything or taping over the 3.5mm mic port won’t work.

      The only method is to physically disconnect the input devices. But then again that means you can’t do any voice communication at all. Bummer!

  1. This is what happens when you rephrase articles from Mashable without really trying them first.

    This method is flawed and works only once. Once the mic is snipped off, the headphones won’t be detected as an external input device. So if you remove the jack to use your mic (like you would remove tape from the webcam when you want to use it and then cover it back), the switch to external mic won’t happen.

  2. These websites and individuals who write this crap are all full of shit! They are just trying to get views and scare the dumb people who don’t know any better about computers nor hacking. Look it’s simple if you are worried about someone spying on you and hacking your computers microphone or full compute system itself, then you must be guilty of a crime yourself? You must be doing something online that you shouldn’t be,such as trolling people,talking bs to others etc. If you are going to do this make sure you can stand your ground and you are educated enough with computers or have hacking skills so that the person you might have messed with in the past or now does not come back to fuck you up and owning you forever. Meaning if you are scared,paranoid about your privacy online then just stay the hell off of the internet, don’t put yourself out there to be a target for hackers, stay in your lane and do what you do,stick to what you know and not what others know because it will always leave you in troubles for ever!

  3. I would have to disagree.
    I view it Just like i would close a door to have a private conversation.
    I don’t believe having growing concern over trying to maintain a level of privacy means i have to be guilty of any crime.
    Privacy is a privilege that i will fight for. No different than covering a web cam as to not be seen indecent, disabling a mic could be necessary for many reasons unrelated to crimes. I don’t believe this post about headphones to be the answer, but i cant deny the threat.
    Threat to privacy as a whole, not necessarily to be exposed for illegal acts.
    I am guilty of nothing, and i would prefer to lower my own vulnerabilities than to accept the fact that being hacked is inevitable.
    Being spied on is the issue, i don’t care if its a troll, a criminal, the facebook guy or joe schmoe down the road who just logs in to check emails and watch porno.
    Privacy is something we need to protect on all accounts, and that should not be strictly for corporations or big business, I pay to live in a home with a door and blinds so when i want privacy i close them. So yes the Internet is vast but when I’m on my personal computer i will “close the blinds and door” when necessary and i really hope this becomes a priority for more people.

  4. I don’t see how this will help? If a hacker can get to your internal audio, they can sure as hell just query a different audio source. If you really want to prevent hackers listening to you, you’ll need to dig into the hardware and disconnect the microphone manually.


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