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If you have kids, you should strongly consider reading the entirety of this article and implementing something to stop their webcams from being on all the time (or ever).

Unfortunately, the BIOS solution is relatively rare and typically found on computers from vendors with heavy institutional sales.

Business Dell and Lenovo laptops, for example, commonly ship with this feature in the BIOS because their corporate buyers want the ability to disable the webcam.

Look through the BIOS options for an entry labeled something like “webcam,” “integrated camera,” or “CMOS camera.” These entries will typically have a simple toggle, like enable/disable or lock/unlock.

Disable or lock the hardware to turn off your webcam.

If your BIOS supports it, you can disable it at the BIOS level, which is ideal.

Reboot your computer and enter into the BIOS (follow the on-screen instructions to enter “SETUP”, typically by pressing the F2 key, the DEL key, or a function key combination of some sort).

This article over at Ars Technica, Meet The Men Who Spy On Women Through Their Webcams, is an unsettling account.

The majority of people doing the spying aren’t government agents, but low-tier hackers that use simple tools to catalog and monitor all the devices a computer may have access to.

In early 2015, a group known as Black Shades was broken up after it was discovered that the software they sold for $40 a pop had been used to give millions of purchasers remote access (including webcam access) to victims computers; that’s hardly a new trick though as old programs like Back Orifice were used in the same fashion back in the 1990s.

It’s Not Just the NSA We want to emphasize the whole “hardly a new trick” bit and the ease with which even marginally skilled malicious users can gain access to your computer.

There is no good reason, especially in light of the numerous documented cases of webcam spying, to leave an insecure recording device permanently accessible on your computer. No amount of hacking is going to magically plug an unplugged device back in.