The Latest in IT Security

Researchers show how to hijack a five-year-old MacBook camera without triggering warning light

19
Dec
2013

By now, hijacking laptop cameras is an old hacker trick, but new research dug up by The Washington Post suggests there may be a way to do it without setting off a MacBooks telltale warning light, a feature designed to make sure users know when theyre being watched. Thats supposed to be impossible, but Johns Hopkins computer scientist Stephen Checkoway may have figured out how its done. The key feature is the iSight cameras micro-controller chip, which establishes a hardware-level interlock between the camera and the indicator light. As long as the chips working, the light will turn on whenever the camera does — but if youre able to remotely reprogram the chip, as Checkoway does, you can get around the safeguard.

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