Software Allows Hackers to Activate MacBook Webcams Without Green Warning Light

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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, — For more information read the original article here.    

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