How to disable the webcam? Protect your privacy from potential hackers
Breaking a webcam is a simple task that some hackers use to spy on you without your knowledge. In this article I show you the precautions to be taken to protect yourself.
I know it sounds weird, but your computer may be watching you for as long as it is on. Deactivating the webcam can, therefore, be a necessary operation to seriously safeguard your privacy and that of those who use the PC.
More precisely, some web watchers could use the webcam to spy on you or your children secretly.
In this article I will explain what are the risks of having one connected to the internet that fixes you without interruption and what practical measures can be taken to protect yourself by disabling the webcam.
How to disable the webcam? The threat is real and widespread
Webcams are very useful devices and are used by millions of users every day. Being able to stay in touch with friends and family around the world, avoiding the exorbitant prices of international calls is one of the many advantages of technology.
But, as Spiderman taught us, great responsibility comes from great power. The problem stems from the fact that webcams are almost always connected to devices that are in turn connected to the Internet and therefore easily subject to hacker attacks.
In recent years there have been numerous reports and complaints against perverts who observed women in their homes via the PC or laptop camera. Unfortunately it is not even so difficult to violate a webcam since on the Net it is possible to get software and services that can remotely access certain webcams without the need for any computer knowledge.
Among other things we are not just talking about voyeurs because these techniques can be exploited by anyone who wants to gain an advantage over another person through dangerous forms of blackmail.
In the past it was possible to act quickly to defend oneself as the activation of the webcam was automatically followed by a small green light. But even this signal has now been bypassed by almost all hackers. In short, the dangers are more than real, but fortunately there are some procedures that can be adopted to protect yourself.
How to disable the webcam? PC settings
If you don’t use the webcam often a good option could be to disable it completely through the Windows Device Manager. To do this go to the Start menu, start the search for “Device Manager” and select it.
In the window that appears you will find the list of your PC’s peripherals. Click on “Imaging devices” and you should see the webcam in use.
To disable the webcam, click the right mouse button and select the Disable option. Otherwise for a more complete solution click on Uninstall.
While this is a clean, simple and relatively complete solution, you need to know that hackers with the right kind of remote access could potentially reactivate the webcam. An attacker might need more time, but sooner or later, if he has that goal, he could get access.
Furthermore, if in the future you want to use the webcam again after uninstalling the drivers, you will have to carry out the reverse process than the one above, and it is not exactly practical. In this case you might consider the next option.
How to turn off the webcam? Cover lens and microphone
Although technology has made great strides, there is not much to do if the webcam lens is darkened. For this reason some of the most important characters in the world, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the current head of the FBI, use a solution that is as simple as it is effective: they apply a little tape to the webcams on their laptops.
Even a piece of cardboard can be fine. A quick alternative to having to disable the webcam.
The advantage of this option is that you can remove the tape every time you want to use the camera, and know that when you apply it again your privacy will be guaranteed. Of course, it is not advisable to use adhesives that are too powerful, such as an electrician’s or a packaging tape that could leave obvious marks on the lens. The most economical, fast and effective solution is to use the adhesive part of a post-it.
Be careful not to forget a fundamental element that can compromise your privacy: the PC microphone; which is very often integrated into the webcam. If you use a laptop the microphone is an integral part of the PC. If you are not sure of his position, look for your laptop model on Google to find out exactly where it is. Once identified, cover it with adhesive tape.
How to deactivate the webcam? Disconnect the webcam from the PC
If you use an external USB webcam, then the solution is really very simple. When you don’t need it, disconnect it from your PC. In this way, it eliminates any possibility that a hacker can spy on your daily activity and steal sensitive personal information.
These simple solutions are precautions to take to avoid most attacks on your privacy, but unfortunately there will always be a number of ways that attackers can monitor your life online.
The most valuable advice I can give you is to surf the net always paying close attention, use a great antivirus and never trust too much with services that you don’t know well. In case you do a thorough search on Google first. In extreme cases, where your security has been compromised, I advise you to format the PC after making a complete PC backup.