Of spyware beware

  • Not sure how to salvage a wet gadget? Want to seamlessly use social media platforms with multiple identities? Your tech questions answered
- Bivek Katiwada

May 8, 2018-

Recently, I accidentally dropped my charger in a bucket full of water. I wiped the charger with a clean cloth and a few moments later when I used it to charge my phone, the charger got blown out completely. What is the cause here?  

- Krishna Dahal

Water, needless to say, is a good conductor of electricity. And Krishna, in your case, when you dropped your charger in the water, the water might have gotten inside. The water probably got near or into the components inside the phone, which is never a good thing because of water’s inherently conductive nature. When you powered the charger, the electricity started to conduct through the components which were supposed to be insulated. This then created a short circuit inside, which caused your charger to blow up.

Getting rid of the water from the charger could have prevented such hazards. You said you wiped your charger from the outside, which was pretty wise. If you had also dried the water inside, things might have turned out differently. I will tell you a few simple steps you can use to dry out the water inside the charger, should it ever happen again.

a.    Firstly, wipe the charger from the outside with a clean and dry cloth. Leave no residue of water on the surface.

b.    Then disassemble your charger. Take note or take pictures step by step while unscrewing the charger. This step will help prevent confusion when re-assembling.

c.    After disassembling it, let it dry. You can speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer. Keep the dryer in the lowest heat setting or else you will melt the plastic components and the insulating materials.

d.    End the drying process by leaving the charger to dry outside. Do not hurry when assembling the parts. Take your time and make sure everything is completely dry.

e.    Then re-assemble the charger and connect it to the power socket without connecting the charger to the phone. Give it a few minutes. If you do not smell any burnt plastic, see any kind of smoke coming from the charger, or find the charger getting abnormally hot, then you are good to go.

f.    If you are still doubtful about the drying process, you can wait few more minutes before you connect your phone to the charger.


I have two Facebook accounts and I am active on both. It is important to me to converse with the people on my friend’s list on both of my accounts but it is so stressful to manage two, having to log in and out of Facebook and Messenger apps in quick successions. Do you have any solution to this problem?

- Pranisha Karki

Dear Pranisha,

There are many people out there, who have multiple social media accounts. Since each account may have its own purpose and importance, let me tell you about an interesting app, which can help you to use both the accounts in a single smartphone quickly and easily.

The app Parallel Space which is available on the Play Store, will allow you to use two accounts and portray two identities on social media platforms at the same time. Not just Facebook, this app allows you to handle Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram as well. And to those who are addicted to the game “Clash of Clans”, they can also play the game with two different accounts in a single device without logging in and logging out in quick successions. Using this app, you will find all the features that the regular app has, while using multiple accounts in a single go. Using the Parallel Space app on your smartphone might just solve all your hassles, so give it a try.


Why do some people cover their laptop cameras with tape? Is it just paranoia?

- Pranesh Khanal

There are many people out there who cover their webcams with tapes. Even the people who have high security clearances are often found to cover their laptops’ camera. It may seem ridiculous but it is not really a bad thing to do at all. It is one of the simple and low-cost hacks to protect yourself from spyware. Putting a small piece of tape on your laptop camera might disfigure your pretty laptop but it also begs a question: is it really worth leaving your laptop beautiful at the cost of your privacy?

It is not just common people like us who surf the internet and watch a few movies on their laptops who cover their webcams. There are numerous popular people with high-security clearances that use this trick. Even Mark Zuckerberg was caught in a photo having a small piece of tape covering his webcam. These are of course people who are likely to be targeted by spyware and have reason to hide, more so than the rest. That said, a small piece of tape for your peace of mind is a good bargain.

There are also numerous anti-virus software and apps that prevent your camera from being used against you. Perhaps you have no reason to hide but if you want to be on the safe side, tape it up!

Published: 08-05-2018 08:43

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