Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Business Intelligence Sales & Marketing More Topics...
Vblock™ Systems:
Advanced converged infrastructure
increases productivity & lowers costs.

www.vce.com
Network Security
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Is Your Macbook Webcam Spying on You?
Is Your Macbook Webcam Spying on You?

By Seth Fitzgerald
December 20, 2013 10:19AM

Bookmark and Share
Researchers have now confirmed that Macbooks manufactured prior to 2008 are vulnerable to spying attacks that allow the webcams to be activated without activating their lights. Although the study only focused on the pre-2008 Macbooks, researchers seem to think that most laptops with built-in webcams are vulnerable to spying as well.
 


It has long been theorized that a computer's webcam could be used for spying. In recent years, some privacy-centered individuals have covered up their webcams to prevent an individual or government spy agency from checking in on them.

Most people however, have avoided covering their webcam thinking that the webcam's light would go on if someone had hacked into it, but this may not actually be the case. New research and individual accounts of webcam spying have concluded that if someone wants to hack into a person's Macbook webcam, its light can be disabled in some situations, allowing the spying to go undetected.

A Horrible Story

Recent research into webcam spying seems to have been spurred by individual anecdotes, specifically those belonging to victims of extortion attempts that utilized nude photos from the victims' webcams to blackmail them.

Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf is one of the victims who was targeted by a former high school classmate, Jared Abrahams. Last year, Abrahams was investigated by the FBI and later pled guilty to extortion after he used nude photos of Wolf to blackmail her. Although this is not the first time that a webcam has been controlled remotely, this case was different as according to Wolf, the webcam light on her Macbook never went on, something that should have been impossible.

Researchers have now confirmed that Macbooks manufactured prior to 2008 are vulnerable to attacks that allow the webcams to be activated without activating their lights.

An Important Feature

Whether it is done by an individual or a government agency, using a person's webcam without his knowledge is something that should concern the average person. "Apple went to some amount of effort to make sure that the LED would turn on whenever the camera was taking images," said Johns Hopkins computer science professor Stephen Checkoway.

Checkoway and his fellow John Hopkins researchers have confirmed in a recent study that older Macbook webcams can be in operation without the vital privacy light being turned on. Although the study only focused on the pre-2008 Macbooks, researchers seem to think that most laptops with built-in webcams are vulnerable.

What may be even more concerning in light of recent and potentially unconstitutional government spying is that the FBI has been exploiting webcams in this way for many years. Court documents and individuals familiar with the FBI's techniques confirm that for several years, the agency has been able to activate webcams without triggering their privacy lights.

With the oversight that the FBI has had to deal with, the courts have not approved the agency's requests to use these webcam spying tactics in all cases. Although this may alleviate concerns regarding the FBI, it is likely that other groups, namely the NSA, know how to hack into a webcam as well.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Privacy Applications:

Posted: 2013-12-25 @ 6:29pm PT
I developed webcam covers for my children's tablets after having my webcam accessed this year. They are made to blend in with the device and thicker for easy grip and removal when use of the camera is needed. SmartPro mobile for tablets and smart phones and SmartPro laptop/tv for these devices. Available at www.privacyapplications.com, only $4.99.

Ron:

Posted: 2013-12-21 @ 3:36pm PT
C-SLIDE is the best WEBCAM COVER for MAC's. Check them out at webcamcover.com



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Network Security
1.   Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
2.   Michaels: Nearly 3M Cards Breached
3.   Google Street View Unravels CAPTCHAs
4.   Teen Arrested for Heartbleed Hack
5.   IBM Adds Disaster Recovery to SoftLayer


advertisement
Heartbleed Exploit Could Cost Millions
But it could have been prevented.
Average Rating:
Michaels: Nearly 3M Cards Breached
But the hack has been contained.
Average Rating:
Don't Reset Passwords for Heartbleed?
Added caution needed to ensure security.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Heartbleed Could Cost Millions, Could Have Been Prevented
Early estimates of Heartbleed’s cost to enterprises are running in the millions. The reason: revoking all the SSL certificates the bug exposed will come at a very hefty price. Some say it all could have been avoided.
 
Michaels Says Nearly 3M Credit, Debit Cards Breached
Arts and crafts retail giant Michaels Stores has confirmed that a data breach at its POS terminals from May 2013 to Jan. 2014 may have exposed nearly 3 million customer credit and debit cards.
 
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
The innovative headpiece may find its niche in markets where hands-free access to data can be a big advantage. Glass experiments for doctors are already under way, with some promising results.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Review: Siri-Like Cortana Fills Windows Phone Gap
With the new Cortana virtual assistant, Windows catches up with Apple's iOS and Google's Android in a major way, taking some of the best parts of Apple's and Google's virtual assistants, with new tools too.
 
With Galaxy S5, Samsung Proves Less Can Be More
Samsung has produced the most formidable rival yet to the iPhone 5s: the Galaxy S5. The device is the fifth edition of the company's successful line of Galaxy S smartphones, and shows less can be more.
 
Facebook Rolls Out Potentially Intrusive Location-Sharing
Looking for friends? Facebook users in the U.S. will soon be able to see which of their friends are nearby, using a smartphone's GPS. Could be a cool feature in some cases, or way too much information.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Contact Centers | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.