In a paper called iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED, security researchers Matthew Brocker and Stephen Checkoway explained a method for remotely operating the Isight webcam in Apple's Macbook laptops. Recent stories indicated that the FBI had this capability, but it's the first indication of how the trick is attained (the researchers reprogrammed the embedded controller in the webcam). They supplied the Washington Post with details and proof-of-concept software. The technique was applied to older model Macbooks, but there's no reason to suspect this wouldn't work against recent machines and machines made by other manufacturers.
MacBooks are designed to prevent software running on the MacBook’s central processing unit (CPU) from activating its iSight camera without turning on the light. 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 “iSeeYou: Disabling the MacBook Webcam Indicator LED,” Brocker and Checkoway describe how to reprogram the iSight camera’s micro-controller to allow the camera and light to be activated independently. That allows the camera to be turned on while the light stays off. Their research is under consideration for an upcoming academic security conference.
The researchers also provided us with a copy of their proof-of-concept software. In the video below, we demonstrate how the camera can be activated without triggering the telltale warning light.
Campaigners from Liberty, a civil liberties group, took to the streets of London (and the lobby of the Home Office!) and grabbed peoples’ phones, browsing them while explaining that they just wanted to build a detailed dossier of their lives by looking at their communications, browsing history and location data — mirroring the way that […]
This is a genius piece of media criticism: mapping the BBC’s own slavishly patriotic broadcast of the British royals’ 2015 “celebrations” onto its breathless voice-over for a North Korean patriotic demonstration in celebration of a Kim birthday. (via Kottke)
The latest Pseudorandom installment features Limor “Lady Ada” Fried and Collin Cunningham extolling the virtues of mechanical keyboards for 40 fascinating minutes: The climax of this is the video at the top of this post in which a musical number is backed with an all-mechanical-keyboard rhythm section.
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]