Don’t Cover Your Webcam’s LED

by @edent | # # | 3 comments | Read ~466 times.

Just a quick note on a mistake I see people making.

Webcam covers are a cheap and easy way to prevent your laptop’s camera from spying on you. But too many of the covers obscure the LED which indicates that the camera is on.

A webcam is covered up, but the status LED is on

If you cover your activation LED then you won’t be able to tell if a malicious entity has surreptitiously switched it on the camera. Keep it uncovered and you’ll immediately notice if it is switched on without your permission.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Cover Your Webcam’s LED

  1. Cristian says:

    I always wondered if that’s a reliable indication of the camera being on. If someone has taken over your system and has the power to control your camera, can’t they just disable the led? Perhaps some have a hardware switch for the light, but how can you tell if the manufacturer didn’t take a shortcut and used software?

    1. @edent says:

      It does depend on the hardware. But given that websites can now turn on cameras and don’t have access to any advanced software manipulation, I still think it is a sensible precaution.

  2. Šime Vidas says:

    Another consideration is to not cover the ambient light sensor (in case it’s located next to the webcam), which could increase screen brightness and turn on the backlit keyboard, depending on whether the auto adjust setting is enabled.

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