How To Disable Built-in Webcam In Ubuntu

Hello Ostechnix readers, What’s up?

It’s been a long time since I have published an article in our blog. It’s time to restart my work again in this blog. From today, I have decided to publish something useful and cool articles regularly in Ostechnix.

Well, today we’ll see how to disable your Laptop or desktop built-in or external webcam when it’s not used, and how to enable it back when it’s required in your Ubuntu operating system. A recent study confirms that some advanced hackers can spy on you using your webcam without your knowledge. By hacking your webcam, the user can send your private photos and screenshots to someone whom you never knew or met ever. It’s really disgusting and it could lead you into biggest trouble you ever imagine.

Spy webcam

Also, you can benefit from disabling your Web Camera in two ways. Firstly, you can save little power, and secondly you can save some bit amount of RAM usage by your webcam. So that your computer might boot bit faster.

Disable Built-in webcam in Ubuntu

First, let me show you how much memory is consumed by your Webcam driver.

To find it out, run the following command:

sudo lsmod | grep uvcvideo

Sample output:

uvcvideo 80885 0 
videobuf2_vmalloc 13216 1 uvcvideo
videobuf2_core 40664 1 uvcvideo
videodev 134688 2 uvcvideo,videobuf2_core

As you see in the above output, my webcam driver is consuming about 8MB. It’s not that big, but atleast we can save it, and hide from the prying eyes.

Now, let us disable webcam.

To do that, edit file:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Add the following lines at the End.

##Disable webcam.
blacklist uvcvideo

The line “##Disable webcam” is not necessary. I have added it to find this line easily later.

Save and exit the file. Reboot your laptop.

That’s it.

To verify, whether Webcam is really disable or not, open any web cam software such Cheese or Gucview. You will find that the webcam is not working anymore.

Cheese Output:

Cheese_001

Gucview output:

_002

Hurrah! The web cam is disabled and is not working.

To enable it back, edit:

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Comment the above lines which you have added earlier.

##Disable webcam.
#blacklist uvcvideo

Save and close the file. Then, reboot your Computer to enable your Webcam.

Conclusion

This method is not only for the built-in cam, also for external web camera. It’s very good idea to cover or unplug your external camera as well or disable it in the BIOS when it’s not used. Prevention is better than cure, right?

Hope this helps. Have a good day!