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Old 05-19-2020, 01:22 PM   #1
klerg
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Webcam Security


Is any way to stop or block an application from using my USB or built-in webcam?

Thanks
 
Old 05-19-2020, 01:50 PM   #2
rtmistler
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I use black electrical tape.

Really.

As far as audio, I sort of don't have an answer, but not worried.
 
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:56 PM   #3
Turbocapitalist
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Physical switches, such as tape, work for the camera.

Devices are just files. So if you want to make a big production of it you can look at AppArmor and build some profiles for your applications. If there are already profiles, then you could adjust them to block the camera. Either way, submit the profiles to your distro's maintainers.
 
Old 05-19-2020, 01:57 PM   #4
PROBLEMCHYLD
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modprobe -r uvcvideo
 
Old 05-19-2020, 02:04 PM   #5
dc.901
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Depending on the hardware (and possibly how old), you probably will find Youtube video on how to disconnect cables (inside the machine)...
 
Old 05-19-2020, 02:11 PM   #6
sevendogsbsd
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I use tape as well. Effective, cheap and easy.
 
Old 05-19-2020, 03:22 PM   #7
klerg
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Most of us know tape will cover the webcam, but what about microphone? Laptops only have Headphone ports these days and even plugging ones with mic port will not disable the internal one. I'm asking for a way to stop or block an application to access the webcam including the audio. AppArmor is what I'm looking for, but seems a bit complicated. Is there an equivalent to AppArmor on Mac or Windows? What does modprobe -r uvcvideo mean?
 
Old 05-19-2020, 03:28 PM   #8
ondoho
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Blacklist the driver in question.
 
Old 05-19-2020, 04:43 PM   #9
dc.901
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Have you looked at BIOS? Some BIOSes allow disabling USB and other hardware...
Only thing I have with disabling at OS layer is next update may reenable the device.

So, in past, I physically disconnected the device (granted that requires taking apart a laptop, which isn't everyone's cup of tea).
 
Old 05-19-2020, 04:57 PM   #10
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc.901 View Post
I physically disconnected the device (granted that requires taking apart a laptop, which isn't everyone's cup of tea).
Quote:
Originally Posted by klerg View Post
Most of us know tape will cover the webcam, but what about microphone? Laptops only have Headphone ports these days and even plugging ones with mic port will not disable the internal one. I'm asking for a way to stop or block an application to access the webcam including the audio. AppArmor is what I'm looking for, but seems a bit complicated. Is there an equivalent to AppArmor on Mac or Windows? What does modprobe -r uvcvideo mean?
Besides tape, there are are no other guarantees beyond taking it out as dc.901 mentions.

You seem to be looking for a guaranteed software option. There are plenty which can disable it, however there also are plenty which can invasively try to use it against your wishes, and those will attempt to subvert anything else done to lock or disable.

Sorry but your next level is asking how you can trust some software change or tool worked. There would be many opinions, but no concrete answer.
 
Old 05-20-2020, 01:48 AM   #11
klerg
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Blacklist, disable, or modprobe -r uvcvideo is not an option as they will shut off the webcam to every application. Also, disabling the webcam in BIOS will cut it off from everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler
You seem to be looking for a guaranteed software option. There are plenty which can disable it, however there also are plenty which can invasively try to use it against your wishes, and those will attempt to subvert anything else done to lock or disable
I'm looking for all software options, either guaranteed or not. Let me know the ones that use and take control of my webcam. What are the names of most of these 'plenty' that you mention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler
Sorry but your next level is asking how you can trust some software change or tool worked. There would be many opinions, but no concrete answer.
Yes that is the next question to ask. How is it these software or tools are able to block or stop an application to access camera? I'm interested to know all opinions and will decide what best suits me.
 
Old 05-20-2020, 02:49 AM   #12
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klerg View Post
Yes that is the next question to ask. How is it these software or tools are able to block or stop an application to access camera? I'm interested to know all opinions and will decide what best suits me.
They don't block anything. They may simply choose not to use the camera despite having it available. Or worse, choose to report not using it despite taking a peek anyway.

If you wish to block, I still say your best bet is AppArmor. Which distro is this for?

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AppArmor

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingApparmor

That's probably the most complete guide there but if you are using something other than Ubuntu, the paths will likely be different. It takes a little time and effort to get up to speed on AppArmor but it not hard once you get familiar with how to debug.
 
Old 05-20-2020, 07:07 PM   #13
klerg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist View Post
They don't block anything. They may simply choose not to use the camera despite having it available. Or worse, choose to report not using it despite taking a peek anyway.
That brings us to an important question: how to actually test and check that these software and tools actually block an app or service from using the webcam? Or how to know the webcam is not in use besides the light being off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist
If you wish to block, I still say your best bet is AppArmor. Which distro is this for?

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AppArmor

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DebuggingApparmor
I have Slackware, but also Ubuntu and will start there to see how AppArmor works. On a related note, is there anything like AppArmor on Mac and Windows?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist
That's probably the most complete guide there but if you are using something other than Ubuntu, the paths will likely be different. It takes a little time and effort to get up to speed on AppArmor but it not hard once you get familiar with how to debug.
I hope it's not too different for Slackware I'm guessing the installation will be the biggest issue to deal with.

Last edited by klerg; 05-20-2020 at 07:09 PM.
 
Old 05-20-2020, 07:30 PM   #14
jefro
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Thoughts....

If I owned a device like a webcam and I wanted to be sure it wasn't able to be used by any means, I'd remove the usb plug from the computer. The built in is more difficult. Tape is an idea suggested already.

You have to assume that a hacker might be able to bypass anything less than physical intervention.
 
Old 05-20-2020, 08:07 PM   #15
ChuangTzu
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Tape as mentioned by many for the camera...regarding audio/microphone, I recall reading that Zuckerberg keeps a broken plug in his so it doesn't work.

You can also support a foundation by using these: https://supporters.eff.org/shop/eff-sticker-pack

https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...phone-facebook
https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology...and-micophrone
 
  


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