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.
Trimbandit's Scary Animated Zombie Groundbreaker Instructable uses two pneumatics to make a partially buried zombie jerk and pitch and seem to try to claw its way out of your lawn -- it's an incredibly effective illusion, one that capitalizes on the jerking, sudden motions of the pneumatic to lend a terrifying, otherworldly vigor that makes […]
40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder. The Intercept's Sharon Lerner made a short doc […]
Everybody could use a little improvement, especially those of us on the hunt for new careers. Each job requires a different set of skills, and that list can change from year to year or even month to month as new technologies emerge. When you’re in that race and need to learn fast, the old model […]
In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll […]
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