Study proves that you can secretly hijack an older Mac’s webcam

iSeeYou MacBook webcam control

If you believe common wisdom, it shouldn’t be possible to take over most webcams without alerting users. The indicator LED is supposed to be hack-proof, after all. However, a pair of Johns Hopkins researchers have recently published a research paper showing that it’s possible to control the camera while keeping the indicator dark. Their proof-of-concept app, iSeeYou, reprograms a controller chip on pre-2009 Macs to separate the camera and LED functions; users can flick the light on and off like a switch. Apple is aware of the issue with its own systems, but it hasn’t said whether or not there will be a fix. It’s also unclear how many newer Macs or other PCs are at risk. Regardless of the exact threat, the study isn’t very reassuring in an era of widespread surveillance — if a pair of academics can stealthily record your activity, it’s likely that professional spies can do the same.

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