How To Secure Your Webcam

Woman video calling on laptop with her webcam

Written by: Jay H.

Webcams are standard equipment used with computers for video conferencing. However, attackers can gain access to your webcam if they install malware on your computer. To keep yourself safe from unwanted eyes, there are several ways you can secure your webcam.

Cover It With Tape

Covering your webcam with tape is a highly effective, although somewhat crude, way of ensuring no one can spy on you through your webcam. Simply cover your webcam with a bit of electrical tape to stop even the most sophisticated hackers from peeping. When you need to use your webcam, you can simply peel it off and reapply it once you’re finished broadcasting.

Disable Your Webcam

If you don’t use your webcam often, you can completely disable it. Although hackers can technically re-enable this feature if they try, most malware won’t attempt to re-enable your webcam, effectively stopping many attacks.

You can easily disable your webcam by clicking on the Start menu and typing and clicking on Device Manager. From there, locate Cameras or Imaging Devices and click on the left-side arrow to expand the view. Locate your webcam, right-click on it, and press Disable device. Restart your computer to apply the changes.

If you need to access your webcam, you’ll need to right-click on your disabled webcam and select Enable device.

If you have an external webcam, you could also easily connect it from your device and plug it in when needed.

Uninstall The Drivers

The webcam drivers give your computer the instructions it needs to work with the webcam. By uninstalling them, you can prevent your computer from being able to use the webcam. However, once again, a determined hacker or sophisticated software could circumvent this.

To uninstall your webcam drivers, once again open the Device Manager. Locate your webcam under Cameras or Imaging Devices, right-click it, and click Uninstall device. In the dialog box, select the Delete driver software for this device checkbox, then click Uninstall. Restart your computer to apply the changes.

To use your webcam, you’ll need to reinstall the drivers. If you have an external webcam, try unplugging and replugging it in. Otherwise, go to the manufacturer’s website, type in your webcam’s model, and download and install the drivers from the website.

Prevent Attackers From Gaining Access To Your Webcam

The best way to secure your webcam is to prevent hackers from gaining access to your devices in the first place. Be sure to practice proper cybersecurity hygiene, including:

  • Download software only from trusted sources and directly from the software vendors.
  • Install antivirus software.
  • Don’t download attachments or click on links from unsolicited emails. Know the signs of a phishing scam.
  • Use strong, unique passwords across all of your accounts.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts.

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