But every so often, a new type of hacker comes along. He secretly burrows his way into your hard drive, then into your life. It was a Saturday night, not much happening in her Long Beach, California, neighborhood, so high school senior Melissa Young was home messing around on her computer.
Her little sister, Suzy, was doing the same thing down the hall.
If you're one of those people who gets made fun of for putting a piece of tape over your webcam, don't worry—you're not crazy.
Unfortunately, your paranoia is justified, since it is, in fact, possible for the internet's n'er-do-wells to secretly seize power of your computer's forward-facing camera.
The house was quiet, save the keyboard tapping in the girls' rooms, when the odd little instant message popped up on Melissa's screen—an IM from Suzy.
Attached to the note was a file labeled simply SCARY. Yeah, the IM had come from her account, but she hadn't sent it. That night, Suzy's 20-year-old friend Nila Westwood got the same note, the same attachment. When she called her friend to see what she'd missed, things actually got freaky: Suzy'd never sent a thing.
Webcam spying came to headline news earlier this year when news broke of a "sextortion" situation in which Miss Teen USA was surreptitiously photographed by a remotely-hacked webcam.