Just like modern mobile phones are equipped with powerful cameras, so do most, if not all laptops, and even some all-in-one computer systems.
This quickly sprung up new ideas for hackers and a stunning amount of ways and applications that take over your webcam are now spread all over the Internet. A lot of data can be stolen by simply looking at it, or who knows what else can happen.
Even if you are frequently using your webcam, it’s best to make sure it’s completely offline when you don’t need it. With a little effort, you can completely disable its driver, but you manually need to enable it again. Here are a few methods to control your webcam.
Disabling camera through Windows settings
Step 1: Right-click My Computer / This PC and hit Properties.
Step 2: Access the Device Manager.
Step 3: Look for Imaging Devices and expand the entry.
Step 4: Right-click Integrated Camera and press Disable.
Step 5: The process for enabling it is the same, with an Enable option instead of Disable.
Note: This can be done in Windows 7, 8, as well as 10. However, in Windows 8 and 10 you can choose to only disable it for specific apps.
Restricting access for apps to your webcam
Step 1: Press Win + R to bring up the search.
Step 2: Write down “webcam” or “Webcam Privacy Settings” and press enter.
Step 3: Choose to either Let applications use your webcam, block them completely, or manually choose the ones that can access it.
Note: This does not disable the driver itself and you can still use the webcam with other programs.
Step 1: Download, install, and run CamBlocker.
Step 2 (optional): Make the application Start at system startup, Block all video capture devices at start, and Block video capture device when plugged in, for more security.
Step 3: Hit the Block button to turn the selected camera off.
Note: One disturbing aspect is that if there are any LED lights around the integrated webcam, they stay on as long as the camera is blocked.
Using Webcam On-Off
Step 1: Download and run Webcam On-Off. It’s free and portable.
Step 2: Select the device you want to block.
Step 3: Press Disable.
Step 4: To get a preview, just hit the Webcam button. This also lets you know whether or not the selected camera is blocked.
Step 5: Select the device again and press Enable to make it functional again.
Note: What Webcam On-Off does is exactly what you can manually do, just as described in the first section of the article. This means it completely disables the corresponding driver.