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The FBI says it found software on Abrahams’s computer that allowed him to spy remotely on her and numerous other women. While her case was instant fodder for celebrity gossip sites, it left a serious issue unresolved.
Most laptops with built-in cameras have an important privacy feature — a light that is supposed to turn on any time the camera is in use.
But researchers figured out how to reprogram the chip inside the camera, known as a micro-controller, to defeat this security feature.
In a paper called “i See You: Disabling the Mac Book Webcam Indicator LED,” Brocker and Checkoway describe how to reprogram the i Sight camera’s micro-controller to allow the camera and light to be activated independently.
Students reported seeing a ‘creepy’ green flicker that indicated that the camera was in use.
That helped to alert students to the issue, eventually leading to a lawsuit.
Indeed, the devices the researchers studied were similar to Mac Books involved in a notorious case in Pennsylvania in 2008.
In that incident, administrators at Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia reportedly captured 56,000 images of students using the RAT installed on school-issued laptops.
This software, which allows someone to control a computer from across the Internet, has legitimate purposes as well as nefarious ones.
For example, it can make it easier for a school’s IT staff to administer a classroom full of computers.
According to the researchers, the vulnerability they discovered affects “Apple internal i Sight webcams found in earlier-generation Apple products, including the i Mac G5 and early Intel-based i Macs, Mac Books, and Mac Book Pros until roughly 2008.” While the attack outlined in the paper is limited to these devices, researchers like Charlie Miller suggest that the attack could be applicable to newer systems as well.
“There’s no reason you can’t do it -- it’s just a lot of work and resources but it depends on how well [Apple] secured the hardware,” Miller says. Brocker and Checkoway write in their report that they contacted the company on July 16.
That allows the camera to be turned on while the light stays off.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating