How to Disable Your Webcam

Your Webcam, Is it really a threat?

Ten years ago the idea that people, be they government agents, hackers, or just law-breaking voyeurs, could actively spy on you through your computer’s web cam would be the considered the ramblings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist at worst or a hyper vigilant privacy advocate at best. A slew of news stories over the intervening years, however, have revealed that what was once considered paranoia is now an uncomfortable reality.

What Should I Do?

You should, no questions asked, disable or obscure your computer’s web cam. There is no good reason, especially in light of the numerous documented cases of web cam spying, to leave an insecure recording device permanently accessible and/or active on your computer.

Given the ease with which you can, in most cases, permanently disable or remove a web cam if you don’t use it (or use it infrequently) and the ease with which you can temporarily modify it to obscure the lens if you are a frequent web cam user, it makes little sense not to do so.

Here is how to disable it

1. Tap on the Windows-key to open the start menu or start screen (Windows 8).
2. Type Device Manager and select the first result from the list.
3. If everything worked out fine, the Windows Device Manager should open.
4. If not, try the following approach instead: Use Windows-R to open the run box on the system. Type devmgmt.msc and hit enter.
5. Locate Imaging Devices and there Integrated Camera. If it is not listed there, you may want to check under Sound, video and game controllers to see if it is listed there instead.
6. Right-click on Integrated Camera and select disable from the context menu.
7. Confirm the prompt that appears
8. The camera has been disabled and cannot be used anymore unless it is enabled first.
9. To enable it again, repeat the process but select enable from the right-click context menu to do so.