Web cam hacking on linux

Quite often when repairing a computer for a client the laptop camera has sticky tape over that part. Does not matter if it’s windows or Mac. Due to fear of hacking.
I have never satisfactorily answered the question for Linux users but if asked…
So is my Linux mint laptop camera available and do I need to switch it off with software tool. But as I also use WhatsApp or Skype for video calls needs to be easy to put on or off, yes I know the software offers that choice but if disabled by another tool will it work
What tool of protection do you use or recommend.
No urgency to the question it’s more to learn

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On later model MacBooks - you can damage the bezel if you put tape of the webcam - but - for EVERYTHING else - I ALWAYS have a piece of tape over the laptop webcam - and I don’t run Windows on any laptop (or anything, really, for that matter).

it’s more for a sense of security - and - my guess is it doesn’t disable the microphone… then when we found out that Intel were running a “micro OS” (MiniX - the thing that inspired Linus to embark on a different UNIX like O/S with his own kernel and GNU) that we had no visibility of - what was it doing? Was it capable of spying on us? Who knows?

I just wouldn’t trust software if my privacy was valuable. 10+ years ago it was more so - I had “legit” reasons to be paranoid about government agencies spying on me (won’t go into details) - but now - I’ve got nothing to hide really. If I was living in China, or Syria, or Iran, or Russia, I’d be worried… And I’m not crazy about the idea of marketing getting or using my unauthorized data from a webcam or a microphone - but surely that’s illegal…

Far bigger danger from the likes of Alexa or Google Nest or whatever they’re called - I’m oldschool - I DETEST talking to a computer! NEVER! I have a mate who’s a bit of a conspiracy nut, reckons the Germans were the biggest victims in WW2, was concerned about vapour trails - yet - quite happily (he’s 3 years older than me) use Siri on his Apple tech devices! WTF?

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@callpaul.eu :

Hi Paul, :wave:

I was doing some research on this very topic quite a while ago (well, actually a long time ago).
I don´t recall the source but I took some notes back then.

I need to switch my keyboard off and on again on occasions, so it´s the same procedure I´m emplyoing. It should work with the webcam as well.

Here´s an example:

  • Identify the port:
    dmesg logs: looking at all USB entries until you find the webcam
    or use lsusb -t to find it.
    [ 2.996705] usb 1-1.6: Product: Webcam SC-13HDL11624N

  • webcam is on bus 1 - port 1 on the 6th device on that port e.g. 1-1.6

  • echo '1-1.6' | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/unbind # sending a command to the USB driver to unbind a port

  • echo '1-1.6' | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/bind # to turn it back on

As I said, I often use for unbinding/binding my keyboard. For this I use the command:

cmd: echo '1-' | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/unbind; and sleep 4; and echo '1-' | sudo tee /sys/bus/usb/drivers/usb/bind

So far it has never failed me. :wink:

Hope it helps.

Many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m not too worried about it. But my laptop has a physical switch/slider to close off the webcam. If it were to turn on it would just see blackness I would guess. My external webcam also has a sliding cover to make sure it sees nothing.

The microphone is another story. Again, not too worried about it. Kind of a funny story though.

About a week or so ago I was reading something about aging. My wife and I are getting a bit older, and our mothers are into their 80s. It makes you think about health and longevity. A long time ago I read something about being able to stand up from the sitting on the floor without using your hands. Doing that is a sign of good health and you might not be able to accomplish it as you age. I said something to my wife about it. The next day YouTube suggested a video about ‘standing up from the floor without using hands’. Tell me the phones or something aren’t listening.


I use alexia every day to listen to the radio and my favourite station. So I talk to her each morning, bit one sided conversation but I am not complaining as it’s the only female in my life experience that does not answer back (often) and does what I ask (most of the time)
Sorry ladies no offence meant just a joke.

Not really thought about the microphone in the computer it was more the camera that some have mentioned.
Yes I get the mail like most guys saying you have been watching and unless you pay … But they automatically go in the bin.


Phones are listening, in fact mind reading us. I was thinking about a new MSI motherboard the other day in my head, opened up my Brave-Browser, about to type into the search MSI then Thunderbird pinged. Email from Amazon about AM4 MSI Ryzen 5000 motherboard. I know for a fact I had not said it out loud and yes I know it could of been a coincidence, but freaky nevertheless.