Is Your Macbook Webcam Spying on You?

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...

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