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Old 02-19-2017, 04:03 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2014
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Web cam security

I would like to know how I can check the security of my web cam, that is to say can it be used to spy on me without my consent.
I can't find any settings where I am able to select some sort of option to be warned if let's say a website wants to use my laptops camera so I can tick an "Allow" or "Deny" box.
Is this an in built part of the system anyway, can I turn it on or do I need additional software.
I am using Mint 18.1 Cinnamon.
Old 02-19-2017, 09:22 PM   #2
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If it has a properly functioning activation light and that light is not coming on, you are probably okay, unless you have reason to believe that someone is specifically targeting you.

You could check what processes you have running and see whether the one(s) associated with the webcam are. See man ps for more.

I have one computer that came with a little sliding cover for the camera. A strip of masking tape or a folded-over index card also can works. If you are truly concerned, you can also disable the microphone by getting a cheap mic, snipping the microphone off, and plugging the lead into the mic jack (making sure the bare ends of the wires do not contact each other).
Old 02-19-2017, 10:09 PM   #3
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If you're not using it, then disconnect it. Or at least cover it with something. Recalling an old movie D.A.R.Y.L. where chewing gum defeats the security camera on an SR-71. Linux has a lot of nice things, but if you've been compromised you could be running anything from any OS.

By law there's a light by the webcam lens, which is supposed to light up when it's in use and show red when recording. But not all countries have the same laws and not all things know of, or obey laws. And some of those lights are pin holes and only visible from very specific angles. And then there's 360 cameras. I would say move to mars, but there's already a few automated spy apparatuses over there and growing.

And then there's web browsers which all but require access to your webcam and microphone these days. I tend to combat things with multiple users with limited permissions, but even that only goes so far, and gets annoying.
Old 02-20-2017, 01:14 AM   #4
Registered: Mar 2014
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Thanks for the input guys, I have never noticed a light & can't tell if there is one there or not, I'll consider sticking something over the top of it as a fool proof way of doing it but if anyone else has more info it would be appreciated, as much as anything I want to learn how to control my Linux system.
Thanks again.......
Old 02-20-2017, 01:55 AM   #5
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Do be aware that your webcam’s warning light can be disabled remotely, so you have no idea that you are being recorded:

More relevant links:

Switching off the microphone on a laptop is probably more difficult to deal with than the webcam itself (just cover it).


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