I have an integrated webcam in my laptop. I know that it works and that ubuntu recognized it because at installation it asked if I wanted a photo taken for some kind of image associated with my account. When I look in system settings, I do not see any webcam in the hardware section. I would like to disable the webcam like you can do in Windows, but as I can't find it in my hardware section, how can I disable it? I cannot even unplug it as it is integrated into the monitor. Am I looking in the wrong place?? I am using 12.04

  • You do not see the webcam in the hardware section? Where are you looking at? What is the output of the lsusb command? – jap1968 Jul 22 '12 at 19:24
  • 5
    In case you want to do this for security reasons, consider disabling the webcam in the system's BIOS settings as disabling it in software won't stop an attacker to re-enable it. – gertvdijk Dec 24 '13 at 19:00


# pre ubuntu 18.04
gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

# --- OR ---

# ubuntu 18.04 and later
gedit admin:///etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf


blacklist uvcvideo

at the bottom. Save the file and quit the text editor.

Regarding the comment:

Find the vendor and device id for the webcam with lsusb:

Bus 001 Device 002: ID 05a9:2640 OmniVision Technologies, Inc. OV2640 Webcam

Next ...

cd /sys/bus/usb/devices/

Do a "grep" on the vendor id and product id:

$ grep 05a9 */idVendor

$ grep 2640 */idProduct

and 1-1 is what you need. cd into 1-1.

The file bConfigurationValue in this directory needs to contain a 0 to disable the device or a 1 to enable it. But this file is owned by root so to alter it (change the 0 to a 1 to enable) ...

 sudo -i
 echo 0 > bConfigurationValue

to disable. You can check the camera and it will be disabled.

This is not permanent yet. A reboot will set it back to what is was before. To make it permanent:

 sudo -i
 echo 0 > /sys/bus/usb/devices/1-1/bConfigurationValue

(where 1-1 is the directory we used and use a 1 to enable)

  • 3
    This disables all webcams. The OP states that "I would like to disable the webcam like you can do in Windows..." Windows (through the Device Manager) enables individual devices to be disabled and not an entire class of devices. It would be helpful if this answer was expanded to include instructions for disabling a specific webcam. – Nathan Osman Dec 24 '15 at 8:14
  • "like you can do in Windows..." Windows (through the Device Manager)" I am expected to know what windows does? >:-D Is this sufficient? – Rinzwind Dec 24 '15 at 9:41
  • Oh yes, that's much better :) – Nathan Osman Dec 24 '15 at 19:44
  • Dear Rinzwind, would something like `# chmod a-r /dev/video0' work? just guessing! – Maxim May 4 '20 at 0:08
  • yes but ONLY until you reboot. You are better of removing the user from the group video0 is set too. and there could also be a video1 or video2 if you have more camera's. Put some tape over the camera is a 100% foolproof trick ;) Or disabling it in BIOS if possible – Rinzwind May 4 '20 at 4:35

Cameras are controlled by the uvcvideo kernel module.

You can disable the camera until reboot by opening a terminal and typing sudo modprobe -r uvcvideo. You will be asked for your password, and after typing it, if there are no errors shown in the terminal, your webcam should be disabled.

If you got the error message: modprobe: FATAL: Module uvcvideo is in use. after trying to remove the uvcvideo module, you can try to force its removal with the following: sudo rmmod -f uvcvideo (thanks thiagowfx)

To enable your webcam again, type sudo modprobe uvcvideo into terminal.

If you want the camera to be disabled when you reboot, then press ALT+F2 and paste this command:

gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

You will be asked for your password. After giving it, a text file should open. Paste at the end of the text file on a new line:

blacklist uvcvideo

Then save the file and exit. Next time you start Ubuntu, the webcam should be disabled.

  • 2
    Much better comment. Thanks for letting me know how to disable right away, and mentioning restart required! – lmat - Reinstate Monica Aug 14 '13 at 14:29
  • Thanks for the complete answer! I would like to add the following: if you got the error message: modprobe: FATAL: Module uvcvideo is in use. after trying to remove the uvcvideo module, you could try to force its removal with the following: sudo rmmod -f uvcvideo. – thiagowfx Dec 1 '13 at 21:12
  • Thank you, I want to bind to Fn+Esc a script that enable/disable camera and microphone, and this is what I need to know. – Marco Sulla Sep 30 '14 at 13:32
  • 2
    I know this answer is from 2012, but it is one of the top results on google and I don't have the reputation to answer here: gksu doesn't seem to be in Ubuntu 18 anymore, you just have to do sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf and add blacklist uvcvideo – Fels Aug 3 '18 at 9:12
  • Changing that file in Ubuntu 18.04 significantly slows down startup. – NelsonGon Jun 20 '19 at 15:23

How about just taping it with some black colored tape? Take some black tape and put it on the webcam. Webcam disabled successfully! Unlike the answers above, this method works against malware attacks that try to enable your webcam as well!

  • 3
    This is actually a plausible solution and fool-proof. – Braiam Dec 24 '13 at 19:35
  • @Gracchus Hmm. Transparent aluminum? Has that been invented yet? A hole in every hole! :P – Seth Jan 26 '14 at 2:12
  • Tape the microphone as well. – Barun Aug 4 '19 at 16:32
  • Well, no malware on Linux, but this solution is the best! no typing :)) – Maxim May 4 '20 at 0:07

I had luck with going into the BIOS for my laptop (Dell XPS 15 9570), where there was an option to disable the built-in webcam and microphone.

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