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Webcams can be turned on without the indicator light: to prevent unwanted use, I wonder whether there exist applications warning that the webcam is being used, or any other kind of protection.


Since I cannot answer to my question since it gets closed for whatever reason, one possible solution beyond shitting on my webcam:

http://lifehacker.com/find-out-what-windows-program-is-using-your-webcam-on-w-158237256:

To do this you'll need Process Explorer, the awesome Windows Sysinternal tool developed by Microsoft for IT work. You can download the installer here if you like, or you can just run the application from their server (which is faster).

With Process Explorer running, follow these steps:P

  1. Figure out what your camera's object name is by finding it in Device Manager. For Windows 7: search "Device Manager" in the start menu. For Windows 8.1: search the same thing in the Charms bar.
  2. Once you locate it in the Device Manager, double-click and go to the "Details" tab. Open the property drop-down and select "Physical device object name", then right-click to copy the name.
  3. Return to the Process Explorer, or get it started if you haven't yet. Then hit Ctrl+F and paste the camera's object name into the search field and click "Search." You should see whatever processes are currently using your webcam.

If the program using your webcam is something you recognized, there's no need to worry (but you may need to quit it if you don't want it running)! If you don't recognize the program, right-click it in Process Explorer and select "Kill Process", then uninstall it from your machine. After the program has been removed, run a full-system virus scan to ensure your machine is safe to use again.

(Obviously the attacker might prevented it from working.)

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marked as duplicate by Adnan, Xander, NULLZ, Scott Pack, Terry Chia Dec 13 '13 at 2:18

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
If someone can turn it on without the indicator light, it's a fair bet they can also do so without whatever "warning application" you have noticing as well. In general, standard system hardening practices and anti-malware defenses apply here as well as against any other sort of threat. –  Iszi Dec 12 '13 at 16:40
    
I'm sure that students involved in Robbins v. Lower Merion School District would have enjoyed such a warning application. I agree that it's no panacea of course. –  Franck Dernoncourt Dec 12 '13 at 16:42
    
Hi Franck - how is this different from the question you linked to? That one appears to answer all aspects of this one. –  Rory Alsop Dec 12 '13 at 17:21
    
The only solution I could see in the thread I pointed to was taping. By creating a new question focusing on protection (vs. technical feasibility) I was hoping to have some more interesting answers, e.g. the webcam covers jimbob pointed to or I hope some more software solutions. –  Franck Dernoncourt Dec 12 '13 at 17:26
    
Honestly, when an attacker achieves that level of access to your machine (patching the camera firmware or modifying your registry), you have much more to worry. They already can access your bank accounts, private emails, every single embarrassing photo/video on your computer, any file on any device you connect to the computer, data synced from your mobile, etc. Nothing, I repeat, nothing can protect you at that stage. Every software or trick you do can be uninstalled/undone. If you were that paranoid, then tape it. –  Adnan Dec 12 '13 at 19:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

To answer your title question, if you are paranoid you can always physically cover webcams when not in use; this will be much more effective than a software solution that bypasses the light. Suggestions I've seen range from electrical tape (if you never plan on using the camera and don't worry about getting tape gunk over the lens), bandaids (no tape over the lens), to stickers designed to cover webcams to plastic sliding devices.

(I haven't used either of the linked amazon products and am not recommending these particular ones; just showing that products of this type exists).

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If you decide to use tape, place a small circle of paper, plastic, or foil in the middle part of the tape and center the disc over the optics of the lens. That way it won't leave adhesive on the parts you care about. –  John Deters Dec 12 '13 at 17:21
    
Add to it post it notes. Sticks pretty well, suitably blocking, easily removable, very visible. –  bethlakshmi Dec 12 '13 at 21:53

If an attacker can turn on your camera without you knowing no application is going to be able to protect you. They own the machine.

The only real way to ensure you are protected is to use physical means to disable the camera. Keep in mind many have microphones as well, so that needs to be considered as well. If it's a separate unit, unplug it when not in use, and if it's part of a device you have to cover it with something.

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