Windows: Webcams offer a window into your home, and they have been known to be targets for malware. If you have a built-in camera, here’s how to disable it and protect yourself.
Malware can take over webcams, so there is potential for your camera to spy on you. You can easily disable an external webcam just by unplugging it, but things are a little different for integrated cameras.
The simple solution is to just pop a piece of tape over the lens, but this is not ideal. Sticky residue is left behind, and there is a risk that your improved privacy shield could fall off. You could turn to third-party software, but you can also disable a webcam from within Device Manager.
gHacks explains the whole process:
1. Tap on the Windows-key to open the start menu or start screen (Windows 8).
2. Type Device Manager and select the first result from the list.
3. If everything worked out fine, the Windows Device Manager should open.
4. If not, try the following approach instead: Use Windows-R to open the runbox on the system. Type devmgmt.msc and hit enter.
5. Locate Imaging Devices and there Integrated Camera. If it is not listed there, you may want to check under Sound, video and game controllers to see if it is listed there instead.
6. Right-click on Integrated Camera and select disable from the context menu.
7. Confirm the prompt that appears
8. The camera has been disabled and cannot be used anymore unless it is enabled first.
9. To enable it again, repeat the process but select enable from the right-click context menu to do so.
The technique is the same for webcams built into laptops and desktop monitors.