Software Allows Hackers to Activate MacBook Webcams Without Green Warning Light
A recently resolved criminal case shows how a man was able to hack a high school classmate's laptop in order to take nude photographs with her computer's camera without her knowledge, before attempting to use the images to extort her, reports The Washington Post.
Though Apple's FaceTime camera is designed to always illuminate the adjacent green light at the top of the screen, software has been written to separate the camera and light hardware, allowing both illegal -- and legal, the FBI has used similar software in criminal investigations -- ways.
While controlling a camera remotely has long been a source of concern to privacy advocates, conventional wisdom said there was at least no way to deactivate the warning light. New evidence indicates otherwise.
Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording — for several years.
A pair of students at Johns Hopkins examined Apple's webcam indicator [PDF] and discovered both how to disable the LED indicator, and a way to modify OS X's kernel to keep nefarious users from taking control of the LED. The vulnerability they described does not work on Macs built after 2008, but it is likely that similar hacks exist for newer machines.
In the older vulnerability described in the Johns Hopkins study, the software bypasses a hardware interlock that the camera uses in an attempt to ensure the indicator light illuminates whenever the camera is active. It is not known precisely which software package the defendant in the case used to compromise his classmate's computer, but the Hopkins study is the first public confirmation that Apple's camera system can be compromised.
The easiest way for users to protect themselves -- aside from standard security protocols like not downloading strange applications, or allowing untrusted people access to the computer -- is to put a small piece of tape across the camera.
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are finally nearing launch, with a release expected later this year. If you are considering upgrading to the new AirPods Pro once they are released, keep reading for a list of five new features to expect.
In addition to all-new features, the second-generation AirPods Pro will likely adopt some features added to the standard AirPods last year.
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around.
The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
Apple's rumored 10th-generation iPad is currently in production and will feature "major" design changes, according to a report from Taiwanese website DigiTimes.
A mockup of the potential 10th-generation iPad design by Renders By Shailesh The report did not provide any specific details about the 10th-generation iPad's new design, but rumors suggest the device will feature a larger 10.5-inch...
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming a week after Apple released the fifth developer betas.
Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air.
iOS 16 introduces a revamped Lock...
The Apple Watch SE was announced in September 2020 and has been a popular Apple Watch model for customers looking for their first smartwatch or an affordable Apple Watch. Apple Watch SE customers may be wondering, however, what's in store for them with the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 and what new features they can expect. Continue reading to find out. Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series ...
Samsung today announced the launch of the Odyssey Ark, which the company says is the world's first 55-inch 4K curved display with a 165Hz refresh rate for improved gaming performance. Samsung first previewed the monitor at CES, but it is now available to order.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Priced at $3,500, the Samsung Odyssey Ark features mini-LED technology...
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years.
Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...