Does covering your webcam achieve anything?

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by leafeon34, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. leafeon34

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Sep 30, 2014
    Most of us have heard by now that we should cover our webcams when we're not using them. I remember seeing in lectures people with bits of tape over their webcams.

    When my webcam is on so is an LED right next to it. So AFAIK if someone were to hack into my computer and access my webcam I would know the moment they do so. Or maybe there's a way to work around that.

    So is there a point to covering your webcam or is it just a scare tactic used by certain pro-privacy groups?
  2. YamiZee

    YamiZee GBAtemp Regular

    Aug 18, 2013
    Not all webcams have the light. But those that do, yeah it would light up if someone hacked it on.

    XXXTORTELLINI ╰( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° )つ──☆*:・゚

    Apr 14, 2017
    United States
    No Idea
    There is a way of getting around the light, if they are good enough they can keep it off.
  4. YamiZee

    YamiZee GBAtemp Regular

    Aug 18, 2013
    I'm no expert, but I'd assume it's more likely that the led is built directly into the camera hardware which would make it impossible to turn on the camera without turning on the light. I'm not sure if they are build independent.
    dimmidice likes this.
  5. VinsCool

    VinsCool Absconditus

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    There is nothing such as "stealth webcam", that's superstition from the early 2000's, when anyone could get a virus on MSN Messenger.
  6. Futurdreamz

    Futurdreamz GBAtemp Addict

    Jun 15, 2014
    My webcam is always on. I used it to invoke Cortana.

    I'm pretty sure nothing's capturing the video.
    Hoppy likes this.
  7. Tomato Hentai

    Tomato Hentai hot death grips singles in your area

    Oct 30, 2014
    Really the only reason why mine is covered was because of Skype. I wasn't worried about accidentally answering a call with video, I was worried about going to change my icon and having the webcam turn on because it'd think that I'd want to take a picture of myself and use that as my icon. I didn't wanna see my own face every single time I went to change my icon. I know that sounds stupid as shit but that was why I did it.
    Video calls were something I was worried about then too ofc, and they're something I'm getting worried about again since it looks like Discord's adding video or something soon. It's just that they weren't my MAIN worry for whatever reason.
    PokeAcer likes this.
  8. froggestspirit

    froggestspirit D/P/Pt Demix Guy

    Jul 28, 2011
    United States
    So what if they hack our webcams? They will look at my expressionless, unwavering face.
  9. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    I imagine there are those webcams wired in parallel but there are others which can pulse the LED to indicate certain states, if that is then driver controlled then there is scope to disable LEDs. Not to mention plenty I have had have transmitted video/pictures long before the LED finished doing whatever it wanted to do.

    That said for all the paranoia about being seen it would be the microphone that worries me more; my webcam is likely to see me staring gormlessly into the screen (people often joke about someone's face as they cum where for my money the more stupid ones are when they are engrossed with whatever is on the computer), and these days it is pointed at my bed so you could possibly catch a glimpse of me in my boxers or snoring like a train. The conversations I have in front of my computer though; those could prove either embarrassing or of some value.
    CallmeBerto likes this.
  10. migles

    migles GBAtemp Guru

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    Sep 19, 2013
    people cover the cameras, but if you really worried, you should remember that "there is no way" to prevent a built in mic in a laptop from being used by "hackers"..
    while some old laptops even had nifty camera covers, or a way to flip them into the cover.. if the mic is sensitive enough, covering it has a small effect.. the only way is to either rip the mic off, or permanently damage it.. (maybe you can put a magnet in it? do magnets prevent it from working?)

    the mic is as dangerous as the cam, except if the objective of the "hacker" is seing "nakiness"
  11. FireEmblemGuy

    FireEmblemGuy Celebrating a decade of shitposting

    Jul 6, 2007
    United States
    Michigan, USA
    I think it's become common practice for integrated webcams to be wired such that if the webcam is powered on, the LED is also receiving power, rather than being controlled separately. I don't know that for a fact, though. The mic mute button on my keyboard has an LED to denote that the mic is off, but I don't think it actually even mutes the mic.

    Realistically, most people aren't going to have to worry about spyware programs utilizing their camera, and I get a grin out of seeing people who should know better walk around with a band-aid or something over their notebook's camera. If you're truly worried, your best bet would be to hardwire an external switch for the webcam/mic, although you're likely have to take a drill or dremel to the body of your laptop to fit it somewhere accessible.
  12. Urbanshadow

    Urbanshadow GBAtemp Maniac

    Oct 16, 2015
    Yes, its a cheap way to reduce anxiety and paranoia levels on the user. Way cheaper than drugs.

    Isn't this EoF?
    Tomato Hentai likes this.
  13. Joom

    Joom  ❤❤❤

    Jan 8, 2016
    United States
    Incorrect. There are sophisticated RATs that can disable the LED. They can also turn on the microphone without any sort of indication as well.
    Tomato Hentai likes this.
  14. Sonic Angel Knight

    Sonic Angel Knight GBAtemp Legend

    May 27, 2016
    United States
    New York
    I dunno, protect from dust? Preserve lens? Or protect privacy? Unless your is a external camera you can unplug, but probably tedious to remove and insert again. I mean, I don't, no issues so far.
  15. rileysrjay

    rileysrjay GBAtemp's official vinsclone speedster!

    Apr 2, 2016
    United States
    Central City
    Maybe we should ask our friends in the NSA, they seem to know about this kind of stuff. :P
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  16. WeedZ

    WeedZ Possibly an Enlightened Being

    Jan 13, 2015
    United States
    The State of Denial
    The nsa uses a system called xkeyscore that can disable the cam led while monitoring. It does a lot more than that obviously.

    Edit: auto correct