Webcams are now a part of popular laptops, but some users may want to turn them off for security reasons. Though infrequently, some malware can actually access a computer’s webcam and quietly spy on the user. In 2014, several people were arrested in the UK to spread that kind of software.
There are several ways to ensure that your computer’s webcam is working in the way it should.
Download and run Antivirus / Anti-Malware software
While this should be a normal part of maintenance for any Windows user, it’s a way to ensure that no malware tries to hijack your webcam. Popular free options for security software include Avast and Malwarebytes. In addition, it is also recommended to practice safe, normal Internet usage habits (not having to open unfamiliar email attachments, etc.).
- Open the Start menu (Start screen) or on Windows 8.
- Type Device Manager in the search field and select the first result, in which it must open Windows’ Device Manager .
- Locate Imaging Devices , which should show any webcam installed, under Device Manager.
- Right click on your webcam and select Disable . A pop-up window will appear to confirm this choice; Click Yes and close the windows.
Your webcam will now be turned off. If you need to use a webcam, follow the steps above, but choose Enable when right clicking on your webcam.
Put tapes over the webcam
This last method is quite low, but works if you can’t or don’t want to mess with your computer’s software or settings. Simply put a piece of duct tape or tape over the lens. These downsides are, of course, mostly aesthetic, including the sticky residue that could be left behind if the tape was removed.