Life hacks, useful tips, recommendations. Articles for men and women. We write about technology, and about everything that is interesting.

Peeling off the duct tape: Dell adds hardware camera lock to Linux laptops


Want to make sure your webcam and microphone are turned off? Now Dell gives you that opportunity.

Working from home comes with challenges that all of us have thought about at some point. Renowned New York writer and pundit Jeffrey Toobin, for example, was recently caught "self-pleasuring" while on a Zoom video call.

It would be nice if you could always make sure your webcam and microphone are muted. Dell thinks so too, which is why they offered the Linux kernel code to support Dell’s privacy controls.

The Dell Privacy Drivers for the latest laptops provide the functionality of the hardware privacy buttons. These key combinations prevent any application from accessing the laptop ‘s built-in microphone and camera . To prevent applications from listening to you through the microphone, you need to press ctrl + F4. To block the webcam, click ctrl + F9.

After adding this code to the Linux kernel, no program will be able to access your computer’s audio or video streams. Because blocking works at the operating system level, not only reduces the chance of embarrassing situations, but also blocks spyware and other types of malware that try to steal a glance at you.

Of course, this isn’t the first time privacy settings have been built into Linux laptops. For example, Linux PC manufacturer Purism has long trademarked privacy and strong support for open source software. The devices of this company are already equipped by default with equipment for blocking video and audio streams.

Notably, one of the world’s largest PC makers now believes that Linux is as important to the audience as other operating systems, which ensures privacy features are supported from the very beginning.

If you are not going to buy laptops from Dell in the near future, then you can still block the camera and microphone on your Windows device.

To do this:
1 Open Device Manager (RMB on Start, Device Manager)

2 Select “Cameras" or “Sound Devices”

3 Right-click on your camera or microphone and select “Disconnect Device”

To turn the device back on, simply repeat this instruction, but instead of “Disable”, select “Enable” the device.

This precaution will not physically disable the camera, skilled hackers will still be able to find a way to activate it, but basic tracking programs can be fenced off in this way.

You can block the camera on Android using the Camera Blocker app. It disables and locks all camera resources (hardware and software) and prevents other applications from the entire Android system from accessing the camera, except for the exceptions you choose. There is also a widget to conveniently turn off the camera lock.

Optionally, the application will notify you of new applications that request access to the camera. And yes, you don’t need Root rights to use this app.

To block the microphone on your device, use the Microphone Blocker app. After installation, you will just need to enable protection and set up auto-start of the application (optional ). In the settings, you can manage the whitelist of applications that need access to the microphone, such as calls.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More