It's an unfortunate sign of the times that we live in these days, but the FBI director James Comey recently issued a statement regarding covering your webcam with a piece of tape. “There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,”
Even though we would all agree that webcams on your laptop or externally on your desktop are a useful addition, they now pose a huge security concern in this age of technological warfare. And unfortunately, you don't even know if you are being watched by someone on your webcam because some hackers can just quietly pull up your video feed without tipping off the user of the computer.
And even turning off the webcam in your operating system settings isn't enough, because a hacker can simply reverse those settings without your even knowing. So the physical solution of covering up the webcam with a piece of electrical or duct tape is really our only last good defense against this threat.
And not to alarm you, but it's easier than you would think to bug a camera and there are plenty websites out there that will show you how. If you've ever wanted to know more information about how these criminals accomplish this, follow this link.
Here's a couple quick and easy steps to follow to help protect yourself against this threat:
Disconnect the USB webcam from your desktop or laptop.
For integrated webcams, disable the webcam in your OS
Windows 10 Users: Go to Start and enter webcam, clicking on Webcam privacy settings in the results. Find the switch labelled Let apps use my camera and turn this setting to off. This will affect Modern,Windows Store-style apps only, however.
You can go further by right-clicking Start and selecting Device Manager, then looking for Imaging Devices in the list. Right-click the device, then select Disable to stop the camera from working, and click Yes to confirm. However, note that rebooting your computer or installing an update can undo this change.
- Disable the webcam in the BIOS. Once you’ve found your way into the BIOS, look for something that refers to the camera, such as “CMOS camera,” “integrated camera,” or simply “webcam.” Use your arrow keys to navigate the BIOS, and observe the instructions across the foot of the screen which should show you how to select and disable the camera once you find it. (Can’t find it? Don’t worry. The option is usually only available on devices produced by manufacturers with a heavy corporate presence, such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc.)
- Linux & MAC users: Here's a good video showing what to do. https://youtu.be/aayFToQS2rA