Webcam hijacking has been around for a long time, but recent stories about websites streaming live footage from thousands of hacked webcams have placed it firmly back in the headlines.
Fully protecting your own webcam requires tough security measures. A quality antivirus engine, smart firewall, strong passwords.
There’s no harm in having an additional layer of security, though, and that’s what’s on offer with Sordum’s new WebCam On-Off, a tiny free tool which allows you to disable your webcam when it’s not being used.
The program is portable, with no adware or other hassles, and it couldn’t be much easier to use. Launch it, a status icon indicates whether the driver is on or off, and you click “Enable” or “Disable” as required. Simple.
It’s not exactly convenient to manually toggle the setting each time, of course, but WebCam On-Off also provides a command line interface. Run “Webcam.exe /on” or “Webcam.exe /off” and the driver is configured to match, so you can launch the program from a shortcut, a script, a scheduled task, whatever you like.
This isn’t in any sense a real security solution. If someone is able to penetrate your PC from the outside world, or has placed a trojan on your system, then that’s the real problem. Stopping them using your webcam isn’t going to help much if, say, they just capture your keystrokes instead.
Disabling the driver doesn’t offer guaranteed protection, either. If someone has hacked your system then they may still be able to view any footage when you’re using it. And if there’s malware running on your system then it may be able to reactivate the driver as required.
Still, WebCam On-Off does offer a minimal extra layer of protection, and it might be useful for other reasons, like making it harder for your kids to use the webcam without permission. Give it a try, just don’t expect – or rely on it – too much.