This article over at Ars Technica, Meet The Men Who Spy On Women Through Their Webcams, is an unsettling account.The majority of people doing the spying aren’t government agents, but low-tier hackers that use simple tools to catalog and monitor all the devices a computer may have access to.
So before you shrug your shoulders and say, “Well the NSA doesn’t care about my boring life, so it doesn’t matter,” understand that while we might all find allegations of government spying the most troubling on a global and intellectual level, the majority of actual webcam spying is carried out by creepy Peeping Toms.
So the short of it is: yes, webcam spying is a real threat.
You can cripple your webcam by disabling it and removing driver support for it.
The technique for doing so varies from operating system to operating system, but the general premise is the same.
A slew of news stories over the intervening years, however, have revealed that what was once considered paranoia is now an uncomfortable reality.
In 2009, a student sued his school when he discovered his school-provided laptop was secretly photographing him (the ensuing legal investigation revealed that the school had collected 56,000 photographs of students without their knowledge or consent).In early 2015, a group known as Black Shades was broken up after it was discovered that the software they sold for a pop had been used to give millions of purchasers remote access (including webcam access) to victims computers; that’s hardly a new trick though as old programs like Back Orifice were used in the same fashion back in the 1990s.It’s Not Just the NSA We want to emphasize the whole “hardly a new trick” bit and the ease with which even marginally skilled malicious users can gain access to your computer.Barring that kind of focus and determination, however, it’s a simple and easy way to disable your webcam.It is, however, rather inconvenient if you actually use your integrated webcam with any regularity.This brings us to the next solution: obscuring the lens with a cover.