Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it possible, in Windows Vista, to use UAC (or some other mechanism) to restrict access to a device? For example, can I restrict access to my USB Camera so that if a program tries to take pictures of me, it has to prompt me for permission?

How can this be accomplished?

share|improve this question
+1 Interesting if someone else can come up with something – Ivo Flipse Sep 21 '09 at 16:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can give Devices access permissions, but this does not work with fuzzy definitions of what you want to block.

Every 'kernel' object can have its access permissions set to allow/deny per user/group etc. So if you install a program which gives you access to the (so called) ACL control lists of the devices the system uses, you can set that a user logging on as 'Bob' may open a device and 'Alice' cannot.

(I don't know a program that really does this, maybe WinObj can ...)

You cannot block an object on an action which you don't control yourself. So you cannot control the images a camera delivers. You can only prevent the 'open' command to succeed or you can write a filter which blocks the data like a firewall, but then you really have to write it yourself.

NB: UAC is a technology that prevents the administrator account on your computer to use his privileges without consenting every such action on a secure desktop. This is not a technology to prevent or permit access to anything. Right management does occur through ACLs (Access Control Lists).

share|improve this answer
Okay, so I want ACL's, and if I set the ACL do that only Administrator can use a device, would UAC would come into play? – Adam Bellaire Sep 21 '09 at 17:33
Yes. UAC actually works in that it lowers the credentials an Administrator has (e.g. the first User created in Windows) to 'User' and lets you increase your rights back to administrator by using a request. This is more or less a security nag, and not a security boundary (even though it works in the Vista standard settings as a boundary). – Christopher Sep 21 '09 at 18:39

I actually don't think UAC is able restrict hardware usage (like you ask).

According to the description on Wikipedia the only thing that comes close would be if your webcam requires a program that need Admin rights.

Though if you have UAC on a high level it is unlikely such programs can be installed without you noticing it.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .