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This solution isn’t quite as secure or foolproof, but it’s a welcome next step.You can cripple your webcam by disabling it and removing driver support for it.Ten years ago the idea that people—be they government agents, hackers, or just law-breaking voyeurs—could actively spy on you through your computer’s webcam would be the considered the ramblings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

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Be forewarned that disabling the webcam typically disables the microphone too, as in most laptops the camera and microphone module are on the same small expansion board.

This is obviously a benefit (from a privacy standpoint) but you should be aware of it so you’re not left wondering why your mic is dead.

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.

This article over at Ars Technica, Meet The Men Who Spy On Women Through Their Webcams, is an unsettling account.

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Once a concern that was the province of the paranoid, years worth of reports and revelations have made it readily apparent that people really can spy on you through your webcam. TL; DR version: Script-kiddie hackers and teenagers can, and do, use easily accessible tools and phishing techniques to hijack webcams of unsuspecting people, often who they know, and watch them through their camera.

The technique for doing so varies from operating system to operating system, but the general premise is the same.

In Windows, you just need to enter the Device Manager (click Start and search for “device manager” to find it).

Disable or lock the hardware to turn off your webcam.

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