Tired of bad governments spying on innocent people for no reason?
Tired to see something like this?
Tired to see how easily you can find a rat virus that can (ab)use the webcam (like DarkComet)?
You can easily stop them (at least you can prevent them from abusing your microphone and webcam)
If you think "noone will do it" or "is super difficult to spy someone" look at the link above and note that i have created a program that can (ab)use the webcam in less than 1 afternoon (do not ask, i will not give)
Why don't just place black electrical tape on the webcam?
-because it doesn't work for the microphone.
-because if you need to use the webcam the glass will be full of glue.
-because is not nice to see.
How does it work?
- By cutting power/signal wire and inserting a switch between
Why a switch that cut the power is a valid solution?
I can tell you that if you remove the power cable from your pc so that it doesn't work you can't get a virus, this is true but it doesn't help (don't use the pc is not a valid solution). But the webcam and microphone is a different thing, you don't use them every time you use the pc so you can turn off them when they aren't needed.
-No matter how some hacker is skilled he will never be able to move a phisical switch from remote :)
-Save a bit of battery life
-Costed to me 0,50€ (less than one coffee)
-Noone can listen from your pc when you don't want
-You can apply this also for the speakers, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ...
-Can be done also for desktop PC, mobile phone, tablet, smart tv, xbox, or any other device that you want mod.
-It provide simple and perfect security that is almost impossible to provide only with software (read the security model)
-Everyone can still listen you if the switch is on (having a secure and private communication is still difficult)
but when the switch is on it's because you are talking with someone so you know that someone is listening/watching.
10 november 2015:
-fixed some typo
-added desktop microphone and some details
-security model is now explained better (especially what "remote attacker" means)
23 June 2016
-minor changes, security model moved at the end so the first page is easier to read
-added mobile phone mod by Edward Snowden
Step 1: Open the PC
I can't help you opening your pc as any pc is different, but you may try to search for a guide on "I Fix It"
or search in internet for a guide to replace the display:
to find the model of your pc you can press WINKEY + R (windows logo key + r) and in the run window write "dxdiag" and press enter, then read "system model".
Step 2: Find the Correct Wires
Again every pc is different but:
Microphone has 2 wires
Webcam should be usb (so 4 wires), you can look at wikipedia page of the USB: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB usb connector is:
+5V <--We need this one
(the two data wires are usually twisted)
Step 3: Get a Dip Switch
You can find it in some old device that you don't use anymore.
Or you can buy it in a shop / online.
You can also use a normal switch but they are usually bigger.
Or you can also cut the wire and physically remove the webcam /mic
Step 4: Solder the Wires
Remove the plastic and solder the wires.
Don't cut original wire yet, in this way if something goes wrong you can simply remove/cut the added wires and still have the original circuit working.
I have used a wire from an old coil it is small, and is insulated also if it seems not
Step 5: Place the Dip Switch
Use something hot to make a hole for it or drill a hole.
You can also use some glue if needed.
Find a place where there is some space
Step 6: Connect Wires to the Dip Switch
You can use the schematic to know how to wire everything (is not complex).
The problem is that everything is small and there is not much space but the connections are simple.
Step 7: Cut Original Wires
If everything seems fine cut original wires (now the switch will start work)
Step 8: Close the PC
Reassemble everything and try if everything still works:
in the monitor part (upper part) of the notebook there is:
-Microphone and webcam
Turn on both switches and try if webcam and mic works, you can use VLC media player for this.
If they works try turning them off and you will see them stop working :)
Oh and don't forget to ask PC OEMS to add this feature by default!
someone (purism) is yet doing it!
a quick reference to understand how inserucre our pc are:
Step 9: Security Model
What the phisical switch will DO:
-It will prevent ANY remote attacker from listening and watching you from YOUR PC while the switch is OFF (or in other words when you don't want to be watched / when you are not using it).
"Remote Attacker" here means any person that pysically control a computer in internet/your lan or a person that can control your computer using software (virus, rat, backdoor...); so if your pc is controlled by a malware this is not a problem, you are still safe.
-It will save battery life (not very much, maybe 1 minute extra if you are lucky) thanks to the power cut on the webcam and mic.
What the phisical switch will NOT DO:
-It will not prevent any remote attacker from fully controlling your pc in fact a remote attacker can still look in your files (and photos), take screenshots of your screen, read keyboard/mouse/clipboard (keylogger), steal your passwords.
-watch from your webcam and mic while the phisical switch is ON (only while is on).
-It will not prevent any remote attacker to use your webcam without turning on its led while the swtich is ON (this is because the led should be controlled by hardware but is controlled by firmware/driver/dll)
-It will not protect you if someone has physical access to the PC for enough time to reconnect the wires in the way they were before the mod but it is easy to detect (if your webcam/mic work when the switch is off you have a problem) or bypass it in a covert way (extra hardware required)
-It will not prevent a remote attacker from watching/listening you from a different webcam/microphone like the one that you have on mobile phone, tablet, smart tv, xbox/playstation, desktop pc, ... yes you are full of microphones!
-It will not prevent any remote attacker from intercept/tap/eavesdrop the commuications that you have while the switch is ON
Step 10: Extra
Here you can see the modded desktop pc microphone.
And here you can see Edward Snowden removing mic and webcam from the mobile phone:
In this way the phone works for you and not for others!
State of Surveillance' with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE)
Since there is not enough space in the mobile phone for a switch he removed them and use headphones with mic when he need to answer ;)
This in future (again, in future) might not be enough:
"Listening through a Vibration Motor"
There is a problem also with headphones: