Geek Software of the Week: WebCam On-Off!
A handy little utility to turn off your webcam!
“Webcams allow us to stay in touch with family and friends, or perhaps record and stream video from your computer to the internet or to a file. When not in use, you may wish to disable your webcam to ensure it is not making unwanted recordings. Malware can take over webcams, so there is potential for spying. Hackers can utilize trojan-horse attacks, enabling them to take control of your webcam, allowing them to record you or take pictures of you without your knowledge.
If you’re a parent, you may also wish to disable your webcam for safety reasons. Instant messengers and websites that utilize video aren’t always safe for children, thus disabling your webcam may be the best course of action. If the camera is external, you could always unplug it and hide it, but this can become tiresome if you are frequently in need of it. And what if, as on most laptops, you have a built in camera?
The Washington Post highlighted an unnerving study published at Johns Hopkins University which found that a laptop webcam can function in relative secrecy – a slightly more subtle Eye of Sauron, if you will. Webcam spying, particularly the variant that involves disabling LED indicator lights, takes quite a bit of effort, but the practice isn’t limited to the realm of academics. The FBI has publicly acknowledged its ability to employ such techniques when investigating criminal activity.
As you can see, disabling your webcam completely is the safest way to protect your privacy. Because of this, we have created “Webcam On-Off” which is both portable and freeware. With it you can easily disable or enable your webcam. Don’t let your home become someone else’s reality TV!”