Why the state's top cop covered his smartphone camera

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For the past six months, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has covered his smartphone camera with medical tape. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) For the past six months, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has covered his smartphone camera with medical tape. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Is our state's top cop paranoid, or just practical?

For the past six months, Attorney General Mark Brnovich has covered his smartphone camera with medical tape.

As Brnovich explains, it's a low-tech way to block high-tech hackers from spying on him.

"It's not paranoia. It's an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure," Brnovich said Wednesday.

Slapping a piece of tape over your camera is a way some people protect themselves from "remote access trojans," or RAT.

This is how a hacker gains access to a device and uses the camera or microphone to spy.

If this sounds like the plot of a sci-fi movie, it is not.

Security experts don't have a lot of data showing how often people's cameras are hacked.

But Digital Citizens United released a report in 2015 showing they are on the rise.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reportedly covers his webcam.

And last year, FBI Director James Comey said he does the same.

[RELATED: Should you put tape over your webcam?]

“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them," Comey said in September.

As the state's attorney, Brnovich is one of the most powerful politicians in the state.

As such, some hackers might consider him a high-value target.

However, Brnovich says it's not just hackers the public has to worry about.

Every day, Brnovich says many people give up their privacy to private companies and don't even know it.

"There are a lot of applications that you download every day, applications that you're unknowingly giving them consent to access to your camera sometimes it's to all your contacts," Brnovich said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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